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Artist: Ron Philbeck

Artist: Ron Philbeck
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I make pots for daily use as well as pots that may serve a more decorative or ritualistic role in the home. I throw soft clay on a treadle wheel while trying to impart some nice energy into the work. I have many influences but most are from the Leach/Hamada lineage of potters. After almost 20 years of making pots I never tire of sitting down to kick the wheel and move the clay. It takes persistence, love, and hard work to make good pots. But at the same time a really wonderful pot can emerge from the wheel when my mind wonders and I am gazing out the studio window. Iā€™m happy to do this work and to share it with others.

I started making pots in 1992 after returning home from college. I had studied mathematics but my heart had always been in the arts. I had done some painting and was very interested in sculpture but could never quite find my subject matter.

A friend talked me into taking some clay classes at the local community college and before long I was hooked. It was about a year later when I read an article by Minnesota potter Warren MacKenzie and fell in love with the idea of producing functional pottery for everyday use. Finally, I had found a medium where I could express my creativity and at the same time serve a purpose, that of preparing and serving food. Over the following years I sought out potters whose work I liked and who came from a functional background.

Through workshops and classes, and much time spent at the wheel, I began my training as a potter. In 1996 I set up my kiln and workshop and established myself in Cleveland County.

When I stop to think about it, it's pretty amazing that I am doing what I love to do. I never thought I would have a "job" that is so satisfying. Being a functional potter is challenging in that I have to work within certain limitations. After all, the pots must work well and stand up to everyday use. Also, I'd like them to be pleasing visually and invite the user to hold and touch them. I feel the pottery is a communication between the potter and the person using the pot.

The ideas are never ending; all I have to do is be open when I sit down to kick my wheel and the clay will teach me. My desire is to make pots that have character and integrity that are as delightful to use as they are for me to make.


A.A. Architectural Technology, Gaston College, Dallas, NC
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Post Educational Studies:

Penland School of Crafts, Linda Christianson, Studio Assistant
Penland School of Crafts, Ayumi Horie workshop
Penland School of Crafts, Ruggles and Rankin workshop, Studio Assistant
Arrowmont School of Crafts, Linda Christianson & Mary Barringer workshop
Arrowmont School of Crafts, Clary Illian workshop
Arrowmont School of Crafts, Five week summer session, Studio assistant
Arrowmont School of Crafts, Mary Law workshop
John C. Campbell Folk School, Marcia Bugg & Leon Nichols workshop

Work Experience:

Studio potter, Ron Philbeck Pottery, Shelby, NC
Instructor, Cleveland County Community College, Shelby, NC
Demonstrator and Presenter, Mungyeong, South Korea
Workshop demonstrator, Cape Cod, Mass.
Workshop demonstrator, Fredericksburg, VA
Visiting Artist, Penland School, Penland, NC
Workshop demonstrator, Allentown, PA
Guest Artist, NC Pottery Collectors Guild, NC
2006- 2009
Instructor, Clayworks, Charlotte, NC
2004, 2006
Visiting Artist, Clayworks Pottery Studios, Charlotte, NC
2001, 2002
John C. Campbell Folk School Brasstown, NC, Instructor
Visiting Artist, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Built 60 cu. Ft. salt-glaze kiln, Shelby, NC

Selected Exhibitions:

2016 - 100 Artists 1000 Cups, Kanas City, MO
2015 - International Chasabal Exhibition, Mungyeong, South Korea
2015 - Quiet Inspiration, Seagrove, NC
2014 - Warm and Fuzzy, Philadelphia, PA
2013 - 21st Century Sketchbook, Red Lodge, MT
2013 - Steinfest, Invitational, Durham, NC
2013 - Reassessing Tradition, Rock Hill, SC
2013 - Housewares, NC Pottery Center, Seagrove, NC
2013 - Set the Table for Loaves and Fishes, Mebane, NC
2013 - The Vase, NC Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC
2013 - The Decorated Pot, NECEA, Houston, TX
2012 - By Example, Greensboro, NC
2012 - Colors of Sgraffito, Columbia, SC
2012 - Generosity of Sprit, Atlanta, GA
2011 - 20x20, Invitational, Clemson, SC
2011 - Mugs for Jugs, Decatur, GA
2011 - Creatures of the Night, Decatur, GA
2010 - 35th Anniversary Lillstreet Holiday Show, Chicago, IL
2010 - Clay and Blogs: Telling a Story, Southern Pines, NC
2010 - From Within to the Surface, Asheboro, NC
2010 - Killer Pots, Helena, MO
2010 - The 3rd Lillstreet International, Chicago, IL
2010 - Form and Surface: Four Perspectives, Salisbury, NC
2010 - Solo Exhibition, New Works, Carrboro, NC
2009 - A Feast of Pots, Invitational, Castle Douglas, Scotland, UK
2009 - Outside the Box, Invitational, Creedmoor, NC
2009 - Drawn to Clay, Invitational, Raleigh, NC
2009 - Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, PA
2009 - Sister Cities Artist Exchange, Invitational, Laurel, MS
2008 - Mooricroft, Invitational, Charlotte, NC
2008 - Obamaware, Online Exhibition and Campaign Fundraiser
2008 - Songcatcher, Invitational, Charlotte, NC
2008 - Animals, Animals, Animals, Invitational, Flat Rock, NC
2007 - Circle of Eight and Their Influential Artists, Louisville, KY
2006 - Connections, Invitational, Oxford, MS
2004 - Gas It Up: Salt and Soda Fired Ceramics, NCECA, Baltimore, MD
2003, 2007 - Functional Ceramics, Invitational, Wooster, Ohio


2014 - Arts and Science Individual Artist Grant, Recipient, Charlotte, NC
2010 - Jurors Choice Award, The 3rd Lillstreet International, Chicago, IL
2009 - Cleveland County Arts Council, Shelby, NC, Regional Artist Competition 3rd Place
2008 - Arts and Science Individual Artist Grant, Recipient, Charlotte, NC
2003, 2004 - Art in the Park, Blowing Rock, NC, Honorable Mention
2002 - Cleveland County Arts Council, Shelby, NC, Regional Artist Competition 3rd Place
1998 - Arts and Science Individual Artist Grant, Recipient, Charlotte, NC

Professional Affiliations:

2012-2013 - NC Designer Craftsman, Member
2011 - Southern Arts Society, Member
2008/2009 - Cleveland County Arts Council, Chair
2005-2007 - American Craft Council, Exhibiting Member
2006 - Cleveland Country Arts Council, Vice Chair
2006-2012 - Cleveland Country Arts Council, Board Member
2000-2005 - Carolina Pottery Festival, Founding Board Member
1999-Present - Carolina Claymatters Pottery Guild, Member
2005-2007 - Carolina Claymatters Pottery Guild, Newsletter Editor
2005-Present - Cleveland Country Arts Council, Artist Roundtable Moderator
2004-Present - Cleveland Country Arts Council, Artist Selection Committee Member

Techniques Using Slips. John Matheison. A & C Black. 2010
Contemporary Tableware. Linda Bloomfield. American Ceramic Society. 2013

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