Forty Years of Clay
Last week I got an email from Gary, who blogs at Coffee Muses, telling me that my Asheville potter son Josh Copus is featured in the Artist Spotlight of the latest issue of Our State magazine. I hadn't seen it yet and neither had Josh, but we got our hands on one quick.
"I got a real kick when I turned the page and saw the picture and thought wow, I know that guy...and we've never met!" wrote Gary, a Loose Leaf Notes reader whose been reading my ongoing posts documenting Josh's work.
The writer of the piece, Alli Marshall, did a masterful job of weaving together the highlights of Josh's ceramics career in the past five years: The founding of Clayspace, the working studio and gallery that Josh founded in the River Arts District of Asheville; His UNC of Asheville BFA Building Community graduate show that featured a giant wall of 1,000 hand-built bricks with the word COMMUNITY on them, ceramics exhibits and performance art; The Windgate Fellowship grant he was awarded that allowed him to buy property in the country where he built The Community Temple, a large noborigami climbing chamber kiln; The 3 week immersion Carolina Kiln Build that Josh hosted on his property, where 12 potters from around the country built two kilns; even the incorporation of one of Josh's Community bricks incorporated into the wall at the Wedge Brewery, where a beer (Community Porter) is named after Josh and where Josh is a weekend bartender.
The magazine Our State is to North Carolina what Blue Ridge Country is to Virginia. The article is broken up into 3 sections: Building Kilns, Studio Strolls, and Community Firepower, which are accompanied large colorful photos.
In the closing paragraph Josh talks about the downtown Clayspace studio and gallery, saying, "This place is a huge part of my identity. I like the activity and the interaction." Marshall writes, and I get chills, "While much of the integral interaction is with the other Co-op ceramists, Copus is quick to include the outside community - tourists, art enthusiasts, serious collectors, and curious passersby - when chalking up important connections. "The reason people need this" - he nods to the handmade coffee mug almost always in his grip - "is the same reason they need to get out in nature or visit a farm. To reconnect. When people come here, they get to meet the artists; they like that. I'm in here being as real as I can because people are buying a part of my life."
~ To read more about Josh's potter's adventures click HERE and scroll.