Influence and Creativity: A Retrospective of Rock Creek Pottery
Opening Reception: TBD
Thinking back, it seems our excitement in pursuing our own creative needs and discoveries was also exciting to others. This path taught us that everything matters in trying to make pots that can deeply enhance daily life. Clay, fire, and methods being as important as the finished pot to us as makers, in our pottery we actively relaxed individual expression. The work evolved as a collaboration between the two of us, tradition, natural materials, soft clay, expressive tools, form, function, fire, and wild nature. Honoring all equally, the pots seemed better able to convey deeper nature—something we are all a part of, but that is bigger than us as individuals.
—Douglass Rankin and Will Ruggles
Co-curated by Michael Hunt and Shawn Ireland, Influence and Creativity: A Retrospective of Rock Creek Pottery offers an intimate look into, and a respectful celebration of, Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin and their nearly 30 years of creating wood-fired pots at Rock Creek Pottery in Buladean, North Carolina. The exhibition in the main gallery will feature pots made at Rock Creek Pottery between the years of 1980 and 2007, as well as work made during their first few years as developing professionals in Wisconsin. A critical part of the narrative is the public recognition of the power of learning through tradition, so one will also find select works by the artists who proved to be most influential to Ruggles and Rankin. These artists include: Rob Barnard, Willem Gebben, Randy Johnston, Warren MacKenzie, Mark Pharis, and Michael Simon.
This retrospective exhibition will illuminate their life of work within the context of their inspirations, including exploration into their prolific making years, their deep investigation into all aspects of pottery making, and their innovative wood firing theory and kiln design.
Ruggles and Rankin showed that deep exploration into materials, touch, form, fire, kilns, and firing methods can all contribute to pots that enhance daily life. Their dynamic relationship with these elements, as well as their mastery of slips, glazes, and the atmospheric effects from wood, salt, and soda continue to inspire students.
Artists’ Presentation: Influence & Creativity: A Retrospective of Rock Creek Pottery
Introduced by exhibition curators Michael Hunt and Shawn Ireland, an image lecture by artists Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin on their work and life at Rock Creek Pottery.
Gallery Talk: Influence & Creativity: A Retrospective of Rock Creek Pottery
Join us in the exhibition galleries at Northern Clay Center to be part of a casual conversation about the work and the exhibitions with artists Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin and exhibition curators Michael Hunt and Shawn Ireland.