The Pottery Lottery

Article Published: Nov. 17, 2011 | Modified: Nov. 17, 2011
The Pottery Lottery

Members of the extended Bolick family price items that have just come out of the kiln.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Everyone has a different event that signals for them the beginning of the holidays.
For some, it is when “It’s a Wonderful Life” airs on TV. For others, it is seeing the first cars heading off the mountain with Christmas trees tied to their tops.

For pottery lovers, the first sign of the holidays is the annual fall kiln opening at Traditions Pottery and Bolick Pottery. This year’s Thanksgiving kiln opening is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26, at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Traditions and Bolick Pottery, both located in the Blackberry community just south of Blowing Rock, will have hundreds of newly created ceramic items loaded in the giant wood-fired kiln. The pieces are fired overnight, yet are cool enough to touch in the morning, due to the brisk autumn nights here in the mountains.

Items pulled from the wood kiln this Saturday will include work from both Bolick and Traditions, with face jugs, such as Santas, wizards and cry babies, Rebekah pitchers, candlesticks, sculpted chickens and other traditional wares.

The newly-fired pieces are pulled from the kiln, priced and placed on a special table in the middle of a square. When all the pieces have been placed on the table, the public will be allowed to rush in to grab their favorites, just like a Macy’s day sale on Black Friday.

Saturday’s event will also feature traditional mountain food and drink, plus live music.

A Winning Tradition

Janet and Mike Calhoun, the owners and operators of Traditions Pottery, were honored last month when they were named Craftsmen of the Year at the Village of Yesteryear during the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh.

“This year’s awards are a true testament to the Calhouns’ skills,” said Pamela Earp, executive director of the Village of Yesteryear. “Each award is voted on individually, so it says a lot that both Mike and Janet won in the same year.”

The Craftsman of the Year Award is the result of votes by the nearly 100 craftspeople participating in the Village of Yesteryear at the 2011 N.C. State Fair.

The Craftsman of the Year Award has been given annually since 1977. In order to be eligible for the award, a craftsman must be in his sixth year at the Village of Yesteryear.

Janet Calhoun is the second member of her family to receive the award, as her mother, Lula Owens Bolick, was a recipient of the Craftsman of the Year Award in 1995.


Bolick Pottery and Traditions Pottery are located at 4443 Bolick Road, three miles south of Blowing Rock on U.S. 321. Turn left at Blackberry Road and right on Bolick Road and follow the signs.

For more information, call Traditions Pottery at (828) 295-5099.

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