Craft Arts

13th Annual WNC Pottery Festival Returns to Dillsboro

13th Annual WNC Pottery Festival Returns to Dillsboro

Joe Frank McKee, potter. Photo courtesy of Jackson County Tourism Development Authority

On Saturday, November 4, the 13th annual WNC Pottery Festival returns to Dillsboro from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Forty-five master potters will be showcasing their work along Front Street. Admission is $5 at the gate and includes a ticket for a day-long raffle. Children under 12 are admitted free. The festival is a rain or shine event.

The WNC Pottery Festival has grown exponentially since its first year and has even gained national recognition. The Southeast Tourism Society recently included the festival on its list of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast.” The format for the festival has been used to create seven other pottery festivals across the country.

“The WNC Pottery Festival brings people together from all over the US,” says co-founder Joe Frank McKee of Tree House Pottery. “We have a very loyal following of people who come for the demonstrations as well as to purchase pottery every year.” While the festival has grown, its concept has stayed the same. ”It is one of the best educational shows in the state for clay,” says McKee. “We thrive on our demonstrations of wheel throwing, handbuilding and firing kilns pre-festival and during the festival itself.”

Among the demonstrations will be this year’s featured potters, husband and wife team Jim and Shirl Parmentier. Asheville locals, the Parmentiers roll out slabs of clay and assemble them to create their dynamic pottery art. McKee will also be demonstrating his raku, red raku, horse hair and black-on-black firing demonstrations throughout the day in front of his studio.

Festival-goers can observe the opening of a soda kiln at 11 a.m. This unique style of pottery is fired with soda ash to create a glassy, glazed surface. The fired pots will be available for sale throughout the day.

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