Calling all pottery lovers! Mark your calendars for what has been named one of the Southeast’s “Top 20 Art Events.” With over 40 master potters from 15 different states, this fall arts festival is not to be missed. The ever-popular WNC Pottery Festival will take place on November 5, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sylva’s Bridge Park. Now in its 17th year, this annual event continues to grow and attract thousands of visitors from around the country to the mountain towns of Jackson County, N.C.
During this juried festival, participating artists will showcase some of the best handmade pottery in the country, and local master potters will showcase their top-tier talent at this event. Insider tip: After visiting the festival, be sure to stop into their storefronts located throughout downtown Sylva & neighboring Dillsboro to see even more of their artistic wares.
During the festival, visitors can watch live clay throwing and firing demonstrations right in the middle of Bridge Park by participating potters.
“The talent of the potters we’ve lined up this year is incredible,” said Joe Frank McKee, co-founder of the event and local potter at Treehouse Pottery. “Each year gets better and better, and we’re really excited to see attendees enjoy this year’s mixture of techniques and skills.”
The 2022 WNC Pottery Festival’s featured artist is Fong Choo of Louisville, Kentucky. Choo is a Bellarmine University Artist-in-Residence. His ceramic work is internationally known and is included in many of the nation’s most prestigious collections.
A favorite amongst festival attendees, the Clay Olympics will take place on Friday, November 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. In these spirited games, which take place at Bridge Park, potters compete in a “throw down” in three different categories:
- Creating the tallest cylinder using five pounds of clay
- Created the widest bowl using five pounds of clay
- A blind-folded, two-minute throwing contest to create the tallest cylinder using two pounds of clay
Pottery has long been a part of Western North Carolina’s history, dating back to Native Americans. Their craftsmanship with clay has since been passed down through the generations and continues to be embraced by contemporary potters who are putting their own unique mark on the craft.
Admission to the festival is $5 per person and includes a ticket for a day-long raffle. Children under 12 receive free admission. The event will take place rain or shine.
While in Sylva, enjoy some of the town’s local restaurants. These include Ilda, Lulu’s On Main, Mad Batter Kitchen, Guadalupe Café, and more. Those looking for libations will enjoy a stop at any of Jackson County’s Ale Trail locations, four of which are located within walking distance of the event.
Why not turn your visit to the WNC Pottery Festival into a fall weekend getaway? Not only will you enjoy a fabulous day of pottery, but you also can take in the beauty of fall in the Western North Carolina mountains. There are numerous hotels, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and other accommodations in the area that make the perfect retreat. Request a free visitor guide and book your trip today.