Rock Creek Pottery

 Tom Alward & Hamish Jackson observing a group of pots. The vase in the center of the pedestal was made by Josh Copus, and the pots around it are Rock Creek pots from his personal collection.

Tom Alward & Hamish Jackson observing a group of pots. The vase in the center of the pedestal was made by Josh Copus, and the pots around it are Rock Creek pots from his personal collection.

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. 

 Australian potter Sandy Lockwood, observing the pots.

Australian potter Sandy Lockwood, observing the pots.

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.

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