Pottery is an inseparable part of the history and culture of the Appalachian territory in the westernmost part of North Carolina. We met numerous local artisans on our quest for exquisitely crafted ceramics.
Sue Salvaterra Hintz has a studio in Weaverville, a charming town 10 miles north of Asheville. She primarily sells her work through local galleries, but visits to her basement studio can be arranged. Her specialty is functional pieces such as serving bowls, dishes, mugs and ceramic cabinetry knobs. You can choose from four glaze combinations: “Smoky,” a matte blend of cream, light blue and rust; “Green,” with hues of teal and white, and a streak of raspberry; “Moss,” a mix of marbled browns, with tones of green and blue; and “Sky,” a variety of blue tones.
30 Cole Road, Weaverville, NC 28787. Tel. (828) 658-0684
Potter Elise Willa Pincu Delfield describes her exemplary creations as “inspired by nature, made for use.” After the first firing of the red clay pottery, she meticulously decorates each piece. Her shop in Bryson City, near Cherokee, is an eminently worthwhile stop. Delfield is also a pottery instructor and offers classes.
80 Highway 28 South, Bryson City, NC 28713. Tel. (828) 488-0480
Launched in 1971 by artist Jim Whalen, Paradox Pottery makes a variety of pots using a complex process: His creations are wheel-thrown, burnished and fired in two stages, salt and sawdust, which create the colorations. Between those firings, he uses wax resist. Paradox does not sell utilitarian pottery — Whalen’s wares are not meant to hold water — but instead makes works of art to own and admire.
90 Spring Farm Drive, Horse Shoe, NC 28742. Tel. (828) 890-0525
The importance of promoting and preserving centuries-old techniques is highlighted at Hilton, a pottery business founded at the end of the Civil War and now run by a fifth-generation descendant. Set on a farm in Newton, this family-run establishment has fostered a network for other Catawba Valley potters by hosting a yearly event at which local artists can sell their wares.
4026 Old State Road, Newton, NC 28658. Tel. (704) 462-1304