American Craft Council show to feature #SCartists
South Carolina Arts Commission is announcing a pop-up exhibition to take place at the American Craft Council Show Atlanta 2020 at the Cobb Galleria March 13-15. It's organized by South Carolina Arts Commission Visual Arts in partnership with the American Craft Council. This pop up debuts the council’s new initiative to highlight southern states’ craft communities. The South Carolina Arts Commission is the first state arts agency to participate in this initiative.
The South Carolina Arts Commission Pop-Up showcases six artists from the Palmetto State whose work honors the old while embracing the new in unexpected and imaginative ways. For over 50 years, the South Carolina Arts Commission has worked to ensure a climate in which artists are valued and remain at the core of South Carolina’s creative economy. The six makers included in the pop-up are some of the best South Carolina artists working in their respective craft medium. Their work highlights some of the predominant trends taking place in South Carolina: tradition, innovation, social justice, technology, entrepreneurship, and upcycling.
- Tradition: Chief Bill Harris of Rock Hill, Catawba pottery (above)
- Innovation: Mana Hewitt of Columbia, medals featuring women of historic importance
- Technology: Valerie Zimany of Central, porcelain and clay using 3D printing
- Entrepreneurship: Quintin Middleton of St. Stephen, Middleton Made Knives
- Upcycling: Flavia Lovatelli of Columbia, mixed media trashion wearable art
- Social Justice: Jean Grosser of Hartsville, assemblage
Three of the six artists will attend ACC for one day each. Grosser (1993), Hewitt (2006), and Zimany (2020) are South Carolina Arts Commission Fellows.
[gallery columns="4" link="file" ids="44245,44246,44243,44244"]
School Days 1949 (Briggs v. Elliott)
Wood & paper
22” x 22” x 2 ½”
Chief Bill Harris
7” x 12” x 6”
Courtesy of McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina
Ceramic, wheel-thrown and hand built porcelain with press-molded sprigs from three-dimensional model prints and hand-modelled florals
21" x 11" x 11"
Folk Heritage Award highlights: Bill Harris and Harold Clayton
Bill Harris, Chief of the Catawba Nation, is committed to keeping alive the Catawba pottery tradition through his work and through educating others. The late Harold Clayton shared his love for bluegrass and gospel with his family and his community and inspired others to learn to play music. Read about this year's recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award below, and find out more about all of the activities taking place as part of the South Carolina Arts Awards on May 11.
Bill Harris, Catawba Pottery
Long before becoming Chief of the Catawba Nation, Bill Harris felt drawn to traditional Catawba pottery. His grandmother, Georgia Harris, was a master potter who was instrumental in carrying on the long-standing Catawba pottery tradition. A recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Georgia Harris passed her knowledge of the pottery process down to her grandson. He was 18 when he started to learn the art form, and she taught him every step of the process – from digging the clay to firing the pot.
Harris digs the clay for his pots today in the same riverbanks he learned as a teenager. Since the 1970s, Harris has actively cultivated his knowledge by learning aspects of the art from other Catawba potters. During the past 15 years, Harris has focused more of his efforts on making pottery. He serves on the Piedmont Craftsman Art Guild, and his work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the region.
Harris is also passionate about sharing his knowledge with others and encouraging the long-term viability of the pottery tradition. He teaches classes for both adults and children at the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project, takes small groups to dig clay, and teaches members of his family at home.
The Catawba Cultural Preservation Project has named him a Master Potter, an honor only given to those who have been recognized by their peers as outstanding practitioners of the tradition. As Chief of the Catawba Nation, Harris has the opportunity to speak to schools and community groups about the tribe. He uses these opportunities to impart the importance of the pottery tradition and other aspects of Catawba culture.
Harold Clayton, Advocacy, Bluegrass and Gospel Music (posthumous)
Harold Clayton was a native of the Warrior Creek community near Gray Court, South Carolina. His father, Alvin, was a multi-instrumentalist who instilled in Harold a passion for a variety of instruments and music traditions. Clayton played the upright bass and guitar, but his true passion was in providing a venue for music to be presented, taught, and appreciated.
He first began providing space for local musicians to play in 2003. Every Saturday night, folks knew they could gather for a good time of picking, singing, and fellowship. In 2006, Clayton had the opportunity to move into a different space and, along with the help of friends, he completely remodeled and opened the Owings Music Hall. In order to help pay for the expense of the renovation, Clayton and his friends put on community fish fries. Friends helped with the electrical, carpentry, and plumbing work. The completion of the music hall was truly a community-based project.
Now musicians from across the region show up every Friday and Saturday night to play for crowds of young and old. Musicians offer music lessons on a regular basis, even lending instruments to students, as needed. Many of these young musicians come back to play at the music hall. In 2009, Clayton built an addition on the building to accommodate the growing crowds and the many musicians who played outside.
Clayton made a conscious effort to share his love of music with his family – both his son and grandson learned from him and are accomplished musicians today. Clayton also enjoyed working with the surrounding community as well. He could often be found singing at local retirement homes and was a regular participant at local festivals like Pioneer Day in Gray Court.
Clayton passed away in April 2015, but his family and the music community continue to carry on his legacy.
Catawba Indians and ‘Pocahontas’ star announce film production partnership
From The Rock Hill Herald
Article by Tracy Kimball
[caption id="attachment_26346" align="alignright" width="300"] Irene Bedard and Bill Harris[/caption]
Native American actress Irene Bedard is known for lending her voice to her craft.
As an advocate and one of the most recognizable Native American actresses, Bedard lent her voice as ‘Pocahontas’ in the animated Disney films, and now hopes to lend her voice and influence to the York County-based Catawba Indian Nation.
On Thursday, Bedard met with Catawba leaders to discuss a business partnership between her company, Sleeping Lady Films Waking Giants Productions, and the tribe’s production company, Red Heritage Media.
The two companies hope to collaborate on television and film projects with Native American themes, as well as documentaries and short stories, said Bert Hesse of Studio South, a media production company that is partnering with the Catawbas.
“It’s a great opportunity for not only the Catawba Nation, but for all of our storytelling capabilities, collectively – and then on top of that for the surrounding community as well, because it is going to bring a lot of revenue into the area,” Bedard told the Catawba leaders.
The Catawbas purchased Red Heritage Media earlier this year and hope to build a $350 million movie studio project on 124 acres of tribal land in eastern York County with Studio South. The plans include multiple sound stages, a “five-star” hotel, a new Catawba Cultural Center, a school for film and music, retail and offices.
“We are excited to hear of the future works of the Catawba studios and all the individuals involved,” Bedard said. “We are out here to endorse (the project) and to let people know that something like this in this area has the potential to create hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue for this state and surrounding communities.”
The Alaskan actress told Catawba leaders that Native Americans need to “take charge of our voice” and tell the “many amazing stories, inspiring stories and stories of resilience.”
Bedard said for the most part Native Americans in films have been invisible.
“I have realized just how we’ve had this great stage to be able to tell some incredible stories and go into this little fire, this little television, or this big screen and see something through the eyes of somebody else,” she said. “It’s amazing and it’s powerful.”
Catawba Indian Chief Bill Harris and Bedard shared stories of non-Native Americans expressing interest in Indian cultures, but who are uneducated.
“I do believe people around the world will want to come and learn more about the Catawbas,” Bedard said. “People around the world, they love us (Native Americans).”
At the meeting Thursday, Harris spoke warmly with the actress once included among People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People. For Harris, Bedard’s influence is not about her fame or beauty, but as a spokesperson for Native American issues.
“I think what’s far more important than the fact that Irene is an actress is Irene’s voice,” Harris said. “It’s what she brings to the world when she speaks about native country.”
Catawba potter and bluegrass advocate named recipients of Folk Heritage Awards
The South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina announce the 2016 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipients: Bill Harris, for Catawba pottery, and Harold Clayton, a posthumous award for bluegrass advocacy. The awards will be presented May 11 during a ceremony at the Statehouse. The 11 a.m. ceremony is free and open to the public.
Currently the Chief of the Catawba Nation, Bill Harris of Rock Hill began learning traditional Catawba pottery at age 18 from his grandmother, Georgia Harris, a recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since the 1970s, Harris has cultivated his knowledge by learning aspects of the art from other Catawba potters. His work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the region, and the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project has named him a Master Potter, an honor only given to those who have been recognized by their peers as outstanding practitioners of the tradition.
Harold Clayton was a native of the Warrior Creek community near Gray Court. He played the upright bass and guitar, but his true passion was in providing a venue for music to be presented, taught, and appreciated. In 2006, Clayton, with the help of friends, remodeled and opened the Owings Music Hall. Now musicians from across the region show up every Friday and Saturday night to play for crowds of young and old and offer lessons. Clayton also made a conscious effort to share his love of music with his family – both his son and grandson learned from him and are accomplished musicians today. Clayton passed away in April 2015, but his family and the music community continue to carry on his legacy.
Also on May 11, the award recipients will be honored by McKissick Museum during a ticketed luncheon and by the S.C. Arts Foundation during the South Carolina Arts Gala, a fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. For more information about the luncheon, contact Jane Przybysz at McKissick Museum, (803) 777-7251. The gala begins at 7:15 p.m. in the Grand Hall, 701 Whaley St.; tickets are $75 per person. For more information about the gala, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com.
The Folk Heritage Award is named for the late Jean Laney Harris, an ardent supporter of the state's cultural heritage. The award was created by the legislature in 1987 to recognize lifetime achievement in the folk arts. The artistic traditions represented by the award are significant because they have endured, often for hundreds of years.
For more information about the Folk Heritage Awards and the ceremony, contact Laura Marcus Green, at (803) 734-8764. Also visit the McKissick website or the S.C. Arts Commission website for more information about programs and services.