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Artist: Gertrude Graham Smith

Gertrude Graham Smith
Gertrude Graham Smith, NORTH CAROLINA
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Gertrude Graham Smith, nicknamed Gay, is a studio potter and teaching artist single firing porcelain ware in a soda kiln near Penland, NC. She held artist-in-residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana and at Penland School in Penland, NC. Her teaching credits include workshops at Penland, Haystack, Harvard, and Findhorn, Scotland. Her work is represented inter- nationally, is in collections such as the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, and Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan. She’s been featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly magazine, and her work is in numerous publications such as Making Marks and Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper, and Working with Clay by Susan Peterson. Grant awards include a North Carolina Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship and two Regional Artist Project Grants. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Penland School of Crafts. 

Artist Statement: 
These days, I contemplate the relevance of living as a practicing artist with our planet facing extraordinary challenges. I imagine how the work of my hands and heart may be of benefit. Perhaps, working as a potter develops beneficial qualities: caring attention, commitment, honesty, courage, passion, hard work, love of beauty, and a willingness to get one’s hands dirty. Engaging daily in the primordial, mysterious act of creation with earth, water, fire, air, the essential raw materials of which we and the pots are made, links us with all earthly life. 

Simple pottery, like cups, are made to hold and serve nourishment. Do consciously made pots carry some ineffable ability to transform and heal? What may be embedded in the stone of fired clay by the alchemical bond between material, process, and person. What is conveyed through use or enjoyment? I’m intending a reality where compassion arises in the heart when hand embraces handle. 

Lately, with making candelabra, menorahs, candlesticks, I’ve become consumed with creating vehicles to spread light in our world. 


1991: Student, Visual Design Program, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Student, Ceramics Program, University of Oregon.
1975: AB, General Studies Cum Laude, Harvard University.

Selected Teaching, Workshops:
Penland School, Penland, NC.
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME.
Harvard University Ceramics Program, Cambridge, MA.
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.
Arrowmont School of Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN.
La Meridiana International Ceramic Center, Tuscany, Italy.
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN.
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.
Odyssey Center for the Arts, Asheville, NC.
Metchosin International School for the Arts. Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC.
Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Findhorn Foundation, Forres, Moray, Scotland, UK.

Some Collections:
2013: Ontario Clay and Glass Association, Ontario, Canada.
2009: Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA.
2008: Manchester Craftsmen Guild, Pittsburgh, PA.
2004: Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan.
2005: Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC.

Some Grants/Awards:
2013 & 2010: Regional Artist Project Grants, Asheville Area Arts Council, Toe River Arts Council.
2006/7: NC Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship.
2009: Cape Fear Studios, Juried Competition Award, Fayetteville, NC.
2008: Ohr Challenge, Juror's Award, Biloxi, MS.

Some Publications:
2013: Studio Potter, Seeding the Continent, article by GG Smith, V41N2.
2010: Ceramics Monthly, The Function of Storage, article by GG Smith, Dec. 2002- present: work included numerous publications including, 500 Pitchers, Cups, Bowls, Teapots, Vases, High Fire Glazes, Robin Hopper’s Making Marks, Clay Times, Kevin Hluch’s The Art of Contemporary American Pottery.

Some Gallery Shows:
LIght the Way”, Two Person Show, Piedmont Crafts Gallery, Winston-Salem, NC.
National Teapot Show”, Cedar Creek Gallery, Creedmore, NC.
Worcester Pottery Invitational”, Worcester, MA.
Peculiar Connections, Intriguing Objects”, POW NCECA, 2018.
Earth to Table”, Martin County Arts Council, FL.
La Mesa 2016”, Santa Fe Clay, NCECA.
Fine Southern Clay”, Eno Gallery, Hillsboro, NC.
NCECA Biennial 2015”, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, RI.
Functional Ceramics”, Wayne Center, Wooster, OH.
Teapots VII”, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD.
The Art of Mentorship”, Clay Art Center, Portchester, NY.
"Southeastern Ceramic Invitational", McMaster Gallery, USC, Columbia, SC. "Art of the State", Cedar Creek Gallery, Creedmore, NC.
Strictly Functional Pottery National”, juried, Lancaster, PA.
"Walker's Wonders", Berta Walker Gallery, Provincetown, MA.

Some Professional Experiences:
2011-present: Member, Penland School of Crafts Board of Trustees, Penland, NC.
2010: Juror, NAS Ceramics Competition, Cape Fear Studios, Fayetteville, NC. 2007-10: Member, North Carolina Pottery Center Board of Directors.

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