In October, American Folk Art & Framing (AFA) presents functional and beautiful works in keeping with the autumnal harvest season. The Harvest Table opens on the website Wednesday, October 4, at 11 a.m., and in the gallery Friday, October 6, at 11 a.m., with an evening reception from 5–8 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served at the reception, which is free and open to the public. The show runs through Wednesday, October 25.
The harvest theme heralds the upcoming holiday season and the attendant celebratory feasts. “Often the vessels with which we create and serve these elaborate family meals hold a special place in our holiday traditions,” says AFA owner Julia Mills. “Because our potters are focused on creating functional wares, these pieces are hardy and intended to be used, not just visually enjoyed.”
Caroline Cercone was born in Germany and it was there, while researching the Japanese folk craft movement, that she discovered ceramics and her own desire to create. She studied at Penland School of Craft and has been an independent studio potter for the last 20 years. She lives in Nashville, TN, where she has made small batch artisan tableware for nationally acclaimed restaurants and established a clay program for students in grades 1–8 at Abintra Montessori School.
“My work is thrown or hand-built using a regionally sourced clay fired to cone 10 in a gas reduction kiln,” Cercone says. “Inspired by my interests in cooking, cuisine and gardening, I create simple everyday wares with warm organic surfaces to invite foods and flowers. It is my hope to enhance a joyful conversation between maker and user, vessel and food.”
South Carolina potters Rosa and Winton Eugene see a connection between their pottery and the nourishment it is meant to hold. “Harvest, to me, is a time of abundance,” says Rosa. “A large, festive table with the fruits of our labor. Seeds planted in spring and harvested. The bowls are filled with pride, love and the satisfaction of knowing they had a good year and the family will survive another year.”
Architecture and words, both spoken and written, inspire the couple as they create handmade, hand-painted, carved and etched pieces. Both are drawn to pottery for its uniqueness, its durability and the narrative opportunities it affords. “We both have something to say,” says Rosa, “a story about American history and where African Americans played a role and how our presence made a difference. The history of all Americans has importance and deserves a right to be told. We choose clay as an artifact that will be around thousands of years.”
The Harvest Table will also feature new work by potters Chad Brown, Kim Ellington and Shawn Ireland.
“To use a piece of art that’s been so well-made and well-considered will turn even the small everyday moments into a special occasion,” says Mills.
American Folk Art & Framing is located at 64 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. For more information, visit AmeriFolk.com or call 828.281.2134.