When my Asheville potter son, Josh, comes to visit and we’re catching up, I take notes. That’s how I know that he and two other potters recently excavated 430,000 pounds of blue clay from Turkey Creek in Leicester, North Carolina. It took 3 days, 11 dump trucks and a trac-hoe, and cost $3,500 to do it. A $3,000 research grant to explore the use of local clay and a friend of Josh’s who reported seeing big chunks of it on the side of the road when a drainage ditch was being dug, all played into the discovery and acquisition of the once-in-a-lifetime lifetime supply.
"You know, ya gonna hafta pay those boys to pull that stuff out of there… You don’t pay me nothing… If you leave my field in better shape than how you find it, we’ll be alright,” the farmer who agreed to the excavation on his land said to Josh. And when they gifted him with the end result, a collection of finished ceramic pots, he understood the significance. His eyes widened and his face lit up with appreciation. “It don’t grow much good of nothing down that end of the field. I never would have thought it would make something as beautiful as this,” he said.
Before Photo: Josh with the excavated clay from Turkey Creek.
After Photo: Finished pots. Christmas morning. Gifts for everyone.
Post Note: A website is in the works to feature Josh's pottery, which is available at his studio "Clay Space" in Asheville, North Carolina. One can also google his name "Josh Copus" for more pottery viewing or reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-828-242-2368. This post was originally published on Looseleafnotes.com on December 28, 2005.