Pastoral Pottery From A True Believer – Asheville Made

Laurey-Faye Dean gives functional work a sense of fantasy.
Photo by Clay Nations Photography

Waynesville ceramist Laurey-Faye Dean grew up in a family of fundamentalist preachers, surrounded by followers who were true believers. Then, as a child, she found the Penland Book of Pottery – written by a community of potters in Penland, North Carolina.

“I realized that the people in the book felt the same way about the pottery as the people I knew felt about the church. For the first time in my life, I had found something as deep, complex and rich as what people found by going to church. To respect the art of pottery, they had to not only learn it – and follow the rules, forms and discipline. They had to live as a whole person and as their whole life.

Ferns and other flora are part of the “lyrical poem to Southern Appalachia” incised in Dean’s work.
Photo by Clay Nations Photography

When she met a real living potter, she said to him, “When I grow up, I want to do what you do.” He replied, “Well, if you find a way to make a living doing it, let me know.”

It was a refrain she heard over and over again. When enrolling in a pottery course at university, Dean first had to sign a disclaimer stating that she recognized that pottery was a very difficult way to earn a living. Today, the artist, who went on to earn a BFA from the University of Georgia, successfully operates Hazelwood Pottery in Waynesville. Her work is distinguished by lyrical and narrative motifs that she calls “pretty visual poems deliberately intended for Southern Appalachia.” These pieces display unusual layers of depth and complexity as she blends abstraction with recognizable images of flora, animals and landscapes that often repeat themselves in subtle patterns.

The potter’s rustic-chic vessels are now on display at her Hazelwood pottery venue in Haywood County.
Photo by Clay Nations Photography

Some of his pieces take on a magical, fantastic dimension; a major influence is Bernard Palissy, a 16th-century French Huguenot artist whose pastoral pottery was the first in Europe to use colored glazes.

Photo by Clay Nations Photography

Other less formal influences date back to the potter’s childhood.

“I was inspired by Mark Trail in the comics. He was really into nature, and the illustrator did some great black and white illustrations that managed to make the animals look realistic, not like a cartoon.

Photo by Clay Nations Photography

Another pop culture reference for Dean is Rock City, an ever-thriving tourist attraction in the mountains of North Georgia created by Garnet Carter, the man who invented putt-putt golf. Carter hired a sign painter to emblazoned hundreds of area barns with the words “See Rock City,” and a German artist who had emigrated to the area crafted endearing plaster gnomes and fairy tale characters. of Grimm that were placed in the caves of Rock City. “It’s absolutely enchanting,” says Dean, who still occasionally stops by Rock City.

Photo by Clay Nations Photography

“I went there when I was a kid, and I’m sure I had no idea they weren’t real. I probably thought, ‘If you can grow stalactites, look what this cave is. did.”

Laurey Faye Dean, Wayneville. The artist will host a grand opening of his hazel pottery studio in Waynesville (across from Hazelwood Presbyterian Church and next to 313 Camelot Drive) during the Haywood County Open Studio Tourwhich will be held on Saturday September 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday September 25 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. ( Dean’s work is also sold at Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382 on Blue Ridge Parkway, For more information, call 828-226-4170 or check out “Hazelwood Pottery LF Dean” on Facebook.

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