Rock Creek Pottery
Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin, known together as Rock Creek Pottery, made pots in Buladean, NC for 27 years. They instructed and inspired a generation of Western North Carolina potters, and their annual home sales were a pilgrimage site for potters and pottery enthusiasts throughout the region. This Summer, as part of the North Carolina international woodfiring conference, I was lucky enough to see the first major retrospective showing of their pots since they stopped making, a decade ago.
I first encountered Rock Creek pots when I was helping fire the wood kiln at Bandana pottery. It was hot by the kiln, and they had several pitchers of water out on a table. I was immediately drawn to one, tall and skinny with a long handle, and beautifully inscrutable brushwork. It was a pleasure to hold and it poured beautifully. When I found out that the makers, Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin, were practitioners of Zen Buddhism, my interest deepened.
I had only seen a few of Ruggles and Rankin's pots before this show, which drew pots from the personal collections of many of their students, and from the collection of the artists themselves. I was excited to get to see such an extensive collection of Rock Creek pots, and plan to continue learning and sharing more about their life and work. I hope you enjoy the images in the slideshow below, taken at the opening reception. I have put some names of people pictured in the captions, but please comment with names that I have left out.