Monday, December 19, 2005

Tradition and an Impeccable Eye


My tribute to Art this moment is to say I had the pleasure of happening into the owner(?) of Market Street Books & Maps in Southern Village the other night, when I stopped in Weaver Street Market for groceries. She and I have talked a few times, and when she saw me she eagerly said, Oh, are you here for the Mark Hewitt event? I had read about it and, as I often do, said to myself, That would be a great thing to go to, then promptly dismissed it.  I’d forgotten what night the event was. I asked her, upon her prompt, and found out that Mark Hewitt was getting ready to begin his presentation at the book store a few doors up. I hurried with my shopping, dropped everything in my cold car, and went up to the bookstore. Their projector bulb blew out so his slides remained silent, but Mark gamely continued and told some fascinating stories about the collection of pots, the exhibit at the Raleigh Museum, the privilege of a craftsman being able to also curate an exhibit.  The book is beautiful, and fun to read:  the potter’s eye:  Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery by Mark Hewitt & Nancy Sweezy.

“Tradition remains wholly in the hands of its practitioners.  It is theirs to remember, change, or forget.”  Folklorist Henry Glassie.

I had met Mark’s wife Carol when she came to one of Kathy’s seminars a while back, but had not met Mark. It was nice to see her again, and I enjoyed talking with him. He traveled in Nigeria for a while years ago, and studied with British potter Michael Cardew, who made stoneware in West Africa for several decades (1940s, 50s,60s). I told him about some of Dad’s slides from the 1950s and 60s, in which he captured some of the pots being made and dyed in villages he and Mom visited. I’m having some prints made of these slides, so….you’ll see them. (

Check out Mark Hewitt’s web site.

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