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Bi-Lo Charity Classic - "Blue Ridge Getaway" Platter Project

 

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The "Blue Ridge Getaway" Platter was commissioned by Bi-Lo Charities as the VIP gift for the 2010 Bi-Lo Charity Classic.

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he Bi-Lo Charity Golf Classic is the largest single day charity golf tournament in the United States. The monies raised are distributed throughout our area, to many of our charitable organizations, such as Meals on Wheels. In February of 2010, I was honored to be selected by Bi-Lo Charities to create their corporate sponsor gift for this year’s event, the "Blue Ridge Getaway".

I was commissioned to make 400 platters, each with a Blue Ridge Mountain theme. These were presented to the executives from many of our national and international food and beverage corporations, as a thank you for their sponsorship of this Charity Fundraising Tourney.

I was very grateful that Bi-Lo had decided to go the Handmade route, as it honors the many talented and skilled artisans and the handmade tradition that is still thriving throughout the Blue Ridge. Because of the tight time constraint, I called several of my "clay" friends, and due to their dedication and teamwork, we were able to complete this challenging commission with a day or two to spare!

Many thanks to: Sue Grier (Leicester, NC), Chris Troy (Seneca, SC), Sam Davis (Knoxville, TN), Anne Bishop (Pendleton, SC) Andrew Massey (Anderson, SC)… all skilled clay workers in their own right.

Raku and U-do-Raku

 

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This iguana was created using the Raku style.

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t Rob Gentry Pottery, we respect the ancient techniques, as well as variations on them. We also want to share those techniques with others to introduce them to the wonderful experience of molding something from clay to become a beautiful, unique piece of art.

Raku   - A firing process, named after a family of Japanese potters in the 16th century, who produced simple yet elegant cups that became associated with the Zen Buddhist tea ceremony.
This is a relatively low temperature firing that can be done in an hour or so.  The glowing red hot pots with molten glazes are removed from a ~1800 degree kiln, using long tongs and heavy gloves.  They are then sealed in a large can filled with sawdust, straw, or other flammable material.  After being smoked in the can for about 10 minutes, the pieces are removed and quenched in water.  They are then scrubbed to remove any soot and smoke residues. Dramatic, exciting, and very beautiful!

U-do-Raku   -a hands on experience that I run during the cooler months.  I provide a selection of small pots available for purchase.   I then show you how to glaze and prepare the piece for the kiln. The pieces are then raku fired and your new masterpiece is ready to take home within a couple of hours.  Lots of fire, lots of excitement, lots of wonder!  Bring a picnic and hang out at the Pottery.  This is a great small group event for family reunions, parties, and team building.

Something exciting is happening out in the Clemson woods!

 

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hanks to the hard work of Clemson Professor Mike Vatalaro we now have the only anagama kiln located in the state of South Carolina.  Anagamas are a traditional Japanese styled kiln, usually tunnel shaped, in fact the word anagama means tunnel.  Reaching temperatures close to 2400 degrees, this 28 foot long kiln is fueled by wood and may fire for as long as 30 hours.

When the word goes out that its time to load and fire, clay workers from all over the area start assembling. Teams of people take turns "kiln sitting" - stoking the firebox around the clock, as the temperature slowly climbs.  During its final hours of firing, the stoking may happen every 2-3 minutes as huge waves of flames carry wood ash throughout the kiln, depositing it on the pots and mixing it with the molten glazes.  The results can be spectacular, and are always unpredictable and totally unique. The "Vatagama" is located out near the Clemson airport and community firings take place twice a year.

The Potter's Lifestyle...

"Seeking the Beauty of the visual Poetry - the Rhythms - the Music - the Dance. The cooperation between materials and time - discipline and surprise."

Rob Gentry - 2010