Albemarle Sound Studio Tour to feature works of 5 potters

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In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo, Lou Ellen Sanders looks over some of the Bourry box-design pottery John Peel crafted in his wood-fired salt kiln. Peel's John Peel Pottery studio will be one of the stops on this weekend's Albemarle Sound Studio Tour.


By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ever purchased a ceramic pot and wondered how it was made? Ever wanted to see how a potter takes a lump of clay and molds it into a piece of art? 

If so, you will get a chance to learn those things and more during this weekend’s first-ever Albemarle Sound Studio Tour.

During the event, which will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, five area pottery artists will be opening their studios for free public tours.

John Peel, Richard Heiser, Mark Arnold, Christine Henninger and Frank Miglorie will showcase their work, answer questions and pull back the curtain on how they approach their work.

Potter studios on the tour in Elizabeth City are John Peel Pottery at 980 Ham Overman Road, Henninger’s studio at 1949 Rivershore Road and Mark Arnold Ceramics at 1410 Horner Street. The two studios in Edenton on the tour are Heiser’s Edenton Bay Clayworks at 108 South Oakum Street and Miglorie’s Sound Shore Pottery at 1222 Sound Shore Drive.

In addition to the potters’ studios, the tour will also include stops at Arts of the Albemarle at 516 East Main St., Elizabeth City; the Perquimans Arts League at 109 N. Church St., Hertford; the Chowan Arts Council at 112 West Water St., Edenton; and Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft at 201 Main St., Columbia. 

Peel said the Albemarle Sound Studio Tour will provide some public exposure for the participating potters while also giving the public an opportunity to see how each potter approaches their craft.

“All of our work is very different,” Peel said.

To make his pottery, Peel uses both an electric kiln and a wood-fired salt kiln next to his century-old home. He burns wood upside down in the salt kiln to develop pottery with a unique Bourry box design.

An art teacher at Northeastern High School, Peel earned his bachelor’s degrees in fine arts in both ceramics and art education from East Carolina University and his master’s degree in school administration from Elizabeth City State University. Peel also received an educator scholarship two years ago to attend Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Whether it is a field of poppies or the leaves of a tree, Henninger crafts pottery inspired by the picturesque landscapes she sees in nature. Originally from France, Henninger moved to Elizabeth City with her husband almost two decades ago. She instructs ceramics classes at the College of The Albemarle.

Arnold prefers the technique of terra sigillata. He said his work is inspired by the trains, bridges and steel mills of his native Pittsburgh, Pa. Arnold earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and his master’s degree in fine arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He and his wife, Caitlin McDonald, moved to Elizabeth City in 2018.

Heiser describes his work as both “whimsical” and utilitarian.

“I make a lot of things they can use in their daily lives,” Heiser said, referring to his customers.

Some of his customers’ favorites are stoneware in the shape of cats that he refers to as Cat’chall and clever mugs with different designs like pirate faces.

Heiser started Edenton Bay Clayworks with his wife, Marilyn, at their Edenton home more than a year ago. He maintains a studio downstairs, and, in a separate structure beside their home, he constructed a gas-fired kiln.

Heiser works as an adjunct instructor of ceramics at COA and as an instructor of ceramics at the Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft. Heiser earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in ceramics from Western Carolina University and his master’s degree in fine arts in ceramics from East Carolina University.

Miglorie is the owner of Sound Shore Pottery in Edenton. For information about his pottery, visit https://m.facebook.com/soundshorepottery/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=0.

For more information about the Albemarle Sound Studio Tour, visit https://m.facebook.com/events/2399384433434611 .