The Clay Centre website and The Clay Centre Gallery website
Barbara Higgins didn’t set out to be a potter all those years ago when she took her first pottery class. She was at UNC studying political science and literature, which eventually led to a master’s degree in International Relations from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. Work for several years involved editing and publishing in the social sciences at the Institute for Research in Social Science at UNC, Chapel Hill. When her family came along, she opted for work that could essentially be done at home.
Her intense interest in clay led her to study clay at Penland, a well-known school of crafts in the mountains of North Carolina. She continued exploring clay with teachers Jim Pringle and Carol Ann Zinn in Orange County, and it became a lifelong passion.
Twenty years of working in clay, teaching clay locally and taking workshops followed. In June of 2002, with architectural help from Jack Haggerty and construction help from Dale Giera, Higgins and her husband opened the Clay Centre at 402 Lloyd Street in Carrboro. After working in her home studio and teaching for Parks and Rec and the Artscenter in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, her dream was finally realized.
The Clay Centre is a space uniquely set up for making, teaching and selling pottery. It includes a cooperative studio (The Red Clay Co-op), a teaching studio, two glaze-mixing studios, a spray booth, a kiln room, a couple of individual studios, and a gallery. The space for teaching classes includes wheels, hand-building tables and buckets of glaze, and the kiln room contains three electric programmable kilns, two of which are shared by the Red Clay Co-op.
The Clay Centre is made up of well-equipped, professional studios with an emphasis on exchange among artists, collaboration and group creative energy. Our focus is on artists (as well as students) working together, allowing the whole community to be greater than the sum of its parts. We encourage students of all levels to develop and expand their creative skills here, within a supportive community of artists and teachers.
The Clay Centre Gallery represents the work of the artists at the Clay Centre—stoneware and porcelain, functional, sculptural, and decorative. Clay Centre artists are always busy preparing for the holiday season. Every year, several Clay Centre artists show and sell their work the first two weekends in November as part of the Orange County Artists Guild Studio Tour. We welcome the public to our Tour and love having the opportunity to talk about our work and show our studios.
The Clay Centre Gallery has the same hours as The Clay Centre (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm) and by appointment on Saturdays, and customers drop by to shop for a handmade gift during those times. We also have an annual Holiday Sale, usually in mid-December, when we celebrate the holidays by showing the work of our teachers and advanced students, as well as our resident potters. Call us for more information about the Gallery or classes at 919-967-0314, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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