HILTON POTTERY: BILL HENDLEY CARRIES ON THE TRADITION
Shuford Daniel Hilton, Bill Hendley's great-uncle, is seen throwing a pot at the old Hilton Pottery in Pleasant Gardens in this photo from the NC Office of Archives and History.
In 1934, Ernest Auburn Hilton established Hilton Pottery in McDowell County. A fifth-generation potter, he one of the first in western North Carolina to use color in the making of pottery. Color had been used by one other potter, Jake Weaver, who had died almost a hundred years earlier. “Aubie” Hilton’s wife Clara Maude was also a potter and later became well known for her dolls as well. (Information from History of McDowell County by Mildred Fossett.)
The Hiltons’ grandson, Bill Hendley, is continuing the tradition. In this video, he talks about the history of North Carolina pottery and about the Hilton method of firing the kiln, painting, and color.
SUSAN B. TAYLOR BASKETS: LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
Old Fort basketweaver Mae Taylor grew up in West Virginia coal mining country and recalls that during her childhood, “the only time you ever saw a basket was when someone brought a bushel of peaches up from Georgia”.
Mae Taylor at home with her baskets and her helpers. (Photo courtesy Susan Taylor)
Mae discovered her own basketmaking talents in the 1960s, and about a decade ago daughter Susan found out that she too had the “touch”.
Susan’s talent and reputation have grown quickly and among other honors, a photo of one of her baskets was recently featured on the cover of the program for the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands.
Susan (and her baskets) joined us at MACA in Marion to talk about baskets from a philosophical point of view and about her own style: You can read more about Susan B. Taylor and see photos of her work on her page at the Southern Highland Craft Guild website.
JERRILL McENTIRE, WOODTURNER
Peaceful Valley Farm, located on Pine Cove Road just minutes from Old Fort, has been in the McEntire family for six generations. Jerrill McEntire, one of nine siblings who grew up there, has a woodturning workshop on the farm and graciously took time out to give us a brief tutorial. (The McEntires used to operate a sawmill across the road and much of the wood that Jerrill uses is scavenged from there.)To join us on a tour of Peaceful Valley Farm led by Jerrill’s brother John, please visit our Close to the Land page.
POTTER ATCHA TURNER: ASIA MEETS APPALACHIA
Peaceful Valley Farm is designed as a hands-on operation, especially for children. That’s a philosophy that suits Thailand native Atcha Turner, who loves having children in the pottery studio with her. On her website, Atcha says, “I desire in my work to reconcile the wonderfully rich pottery traditions of Appalachia with the eastern aesthetic which is so dear to me”. She invited us into the studio for a visit:
“ANNIE McENTIRE”: AN ARTIST’S PERSPECTIVE ON BARN QUILTS
During our visit to the McEntire farm, we also met Anne Bevan, who has a fine arts studio on Harlowe Noblitt Road just outside of Old Fort. She is an honorary member of the McEntire family and has developed a passion for barn quilts, many of which are displayed at the farm.
MACA: McDOWELL ARTS COUNCIL ASSOCIATION
Since 1972, MACA has shared and promoted the artistic heritage of McDowell County. The organization spotlights pottery, wood working, quilting, basket making, weaving, performance arts, and more. Executive Director Susan Pyatt tell us more about MACA’s activities, including the annual Appalachian Potter’s Market: