ASHEBORO, N.C. —Hundreds of potters from all over the country gathered in Randolph County this weekend to hone their craft.
The annual North Carolina Potters Conference in Asheboro is recognized by artists as one of the nation’s premier ceramic conferences.
"It's a part of the personality and the fabric of this area -- people literally taking the ground beneath their feet and creating something of value out of it,” said Derrick Sides, Randolph Arts Guild executive director.
Around 200 potters from across the country got their hands dirty this weekend in Asheboro.
“It is a three day conference that focuses on utilitarian pottery at the cutting edge of contemporary ceramics,” Sides said.
The conference—now in its 26th year—has evolved over time into a place where potters meet for both discussions and demonstrations.
"We bring in a lot of people from outside the state. Pottery is recognized as good for the economy,” said conference co-chair Bruce Gholson.
This group's work stands out because it is not meant to sit on a shelf.
"The artists intend for people [to] purchase it, and enjoy the works of art. They make work that they encourage people to interact with and enjoy,” Sides said.
Cups, bowls, plates and pitchers were among the pieces the public could find for sale here.
The artists also came hoping to take away something valuable.
"A great idea is only great if you do something about it. So at the end of the day, we hope all these artists learn some new techniques and ideas, and they're able to take them back to their studios and apply them to their own work and creations,” Sides said.
Organizers hope folks will check out pottery in their own communities.
"They welcome people to come in and ask questions. If you want to buy something, that's great. If not, that's OK, too. We want you to come and experience the pottery shops,” said conference co-chair Samantha Henneke.
The N.C. Potter's Conference wrapped up Sunday morning.
Plans are already in the works for the 27th annual event.