The Student News Site of Wofford College

Old Gold & Black

Breaking News
  • Issue 7 Out Now!

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

New exhibit: “I Work with Clay”

When famous artist Alex Matisse, the grandson of French painter Henri Matisse, was asked to paint a canvas for the North Carolina Pottery Center’s annual art auction, he artfully declined. 

Instead, he wrote on a canvas: “Over the past 100 years there have been a few members of my family who have painted traditional canvases. Due in part to their overwhelming success with the medium I have chosen a different medium, one that offers freedom from the long shadow they cast. I work with clay”.

This canvas hangs in the Hackney-Haight exhibit, alongside a custom ceramic tile trio by Mattise that was given to Jim Hackney and Scott Haight, the donors of the exhibit. The exhibit is named “I work with clay,” after the final line of Matisse’s statement.

“When Scott saw Alex’s statement, he jumped in the car to drive to Sea Grove, North Carolina, to bid on the canvas,” Hackney said. “This is his manifesto. This is Alex telling us why he pots. We had to have it.” 

Story continues below advertisement

To date, Hackney and Haight have collected around 400 ceramic pieces, 60 of which are displayed in the Richardson Family Art Museum. The exhibit features many potters from North Carolina, including Matt Kelleher, Linda McFarling, Jason Hartsoe, Shane Mickey and Eric Knoche.

“The fact that I am from North Carolina is where it all sort of started, but at the same time there are more potters working in North Carolina than any other state of the union because of the clay,” Hackney said. 

Youmi Efurd, Wofford’s museum curator, explained that this clay is why some of the potters whose works are being displayed in the exhibition, like Mark Hewitt, chose to live in North Carolina.  

“When you look at the history of pottery in the world, Important kilns, such as Chinese Jingdezhen or Japanese Arita or Mino wares, were developed where high quality clays were available, Efurd said. “The North Carolina ceramic tradition goes back to the time of native Americans and European settlers.” 

All of the artists’ work are known for their various styles of pottery, which can be seen in the exhibit from large vessels to small plates. 

“We wanted to showcase ceramic pieces that can highlight skills and techniques in terms of their building, glazing and/or firing, which students can learn,” Efurd said, explaining why they brought the exhibit to Wofford in the first place. 

Hackney, a Wofford graduate and now board member of the Penland School of Craft, began his work with ceramics during an interim course in which he built a high fire gas reduction kiln. 

“I also took an advanced pottery class at Converse and learned how to throw on a wheel,” Hackney said. “It was enough that I appreciate what goes into it, and I learned so much about what it takes to make a good pot.”

After graduating from Wofford, Hackney bought his first piece of pottery in a 1977 gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, and has been collecting ever since. 

Haight also found a love for collecting ceramics and now works as the People Operations Manager at East Fork pottery, a B corporation that was co-founded by Alex Mattisse and his 

wife Connie. 

East Fork is a company that is dedicated to designing, manufacturing and selling thoughtful, durable ceramic dishware in Asheville, North Carolina. Recently, the company has announced raising its minimum wage to $22/hr to help resolve wage disparity. 

“I think as an alum, I have a responsibility to thank Wofford for what they gave me in the arts when I was a Humanities major,” Hackney said. 

Hackney and Haight also support Wofford through their scholarship that sends one Wofford student each summer to take a two week class at the Penland School of Arts. 

The exhibit will be on display until May 22. Additionally, Alex Mattise will be coming to Wofford on April 25 to speak about his art, business and experience with East Fork. 

Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wofford College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal