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A Once-in-a-Lifetime Lifetime Supply

joshwithclay.jpgWhen my Asheville potter son, Josh, comes to visit and we’re catching up, I take notes. That’s how I know that he and two other potters recently excavated 430,000 pounds of blue clay from Turkey Creek in Leicester, North Carolina. It took 3 days, 11 dump trucks and a trac-hoe, and cost $3,500 to do it. A $3,000 research grant to explore the use of local clay and a friend of Josh’s who reported seeing big chunks of it on the side of the road when a drainage ditch was being dug, all played into the discovery and acquisition of the once-in-a-lifetime lifetime supply.

potsonrug.jpg"You know, ya gonna hafta pay those boys to pull that stuff out of there… You don’t pay me nothing… If you leave my field in better shape than how you find it, we’ll be alright,” the farmer who agreed to the excavation on his land said to Josh. And when they gifted him with the end result, a collection of finished ceramic pots, he understood the signifigance. His eyes widened and his face lit up with appreciation. “It don’t grow much good of nothing down that end of the field. I never would have thought it would make something as beautiful as this,” he said.

Before Photo: Josh with the excavated clay from Turkey Creek.
After Photo: Finished pots. Christmas morning. Gifts for everyone.
Post Note: A website is in the works to feature Josh's pottery, which is available at his studio "Clay Space" in Asheville, North Carolina. One can also google his name "Josh Copus" for more pottery viewing or reach him directly at copiousplus@hotmail.com or 1-828-242-2368.


Holy Cow! How awesome is this.... to have a lifetime supply of the medium you work in... I say AWESOME!

Those pots are beautiful!

That is a wonderful story, Colleen! Hooray for Josh, and the pots are terrific.

I see you learned how to do more than one photo, as you said, but you also learned how to make them go where you want them to. I am at the mercy of Blogger. I did learn to post them in reverse order, so the ones I want to be on top will be there, but you don't have to do you?

Oh, that's so sweet. That sucking muck on the boots that doesn't drain crops well can have fabulous use in the right hands. Glad Josh noticed it was there.

Excavating clay. That's pretty cool. Makes me realize there's a whole other part of the world I have no idea about.

Ohhhh, how beautiful! I love well made pottery.

how would one go about procuring some of Josh's work?

Good question, E.
Josh has a website on the horizon, but it's not set up yet. I will call him and see what he would like me to post for a contact. For now you can google his name "Josh Copus" for more pottery viewing.

oh they are a beauty!

Thank you very much! need to get some for my new house.

That's great for both Josh and the farmer; a perfect give and take kind of story. BTW, for those who are interested in Josh's turning a lump of clay into a pot to behold - I can vouch for the unique artistry of the pots. I love mine. Kathy

From what I can see his pottery looks gorgeous. I love those. What a great gift!

Long live wet dirt. I have been in Japan for almost three months now researching the japanese perspective of art and making pots. The day i left Josh, Matt,and Matt Jones started to dig the clay. I could feel this was going to be a bench mark in all of our lives. Talking to potters over here, they were realy excited to hear about young american potters being so intrested in digging clay. Caly is the most important part of the process for spiritual art potters over here. They belive that you have to become more simple with the process of making pots. If one forgets that really all that is needed is to process clay from the earth, create shapes, and then fire them, if one gets too cought up in the tecnical process the spirt of the work is ruined, no longer reflecteding the amazing connection between man, nature, and the fire. I love josh and his spirt, he inspires me every day in life to reach for the stars, and create pottery which reflects that dream. We will be making pots to gether till we are old and gray.
Peace and love sean

The art girl in me says, Neat-o!!!!

The link to the site seems to bring me to the comment page though.

The finished products look fantastic!

They are gorgeous. Just where do you store that much clay?

What a great story Colleen..And all that scrumptious ckay...As a kid, when I found clay in the ground it was like finding GOLD!!!
And those things are GORGEOUS!! Hope he gets a Website going soon!

Oh, storing it is a whole other post. One of the potters who has land keeps it, but the story was more complicated than that...but I forget the rest. Maybe he'll stop by and tell us.

Such a talent. I love the artistic souls. They're the very best kind.

Looking forward to his website getting up and running!

That is a fabulous story about revealing hidden beauty!

Wonderful that the farmer got to see what his land has yielded! What an amazing discovery and the resources to put it to magical use!

thanks to everyone for all your solid feedback and support on this aspect of my work. its great to see so much interest from the "general public" on something that means so much to me as a artist and a person. incorporating native clay into my work has been such an amazing experience that continues to influence the pots that i make and my reason for making them. Neil, the farmer, has become like a part of my family. when Neil and his wife come around to the shop to see what i'm up to it's like a big family reunion. every day when i get down to work it still amazes me that the clay i am working with came straight out of my his tobacco field and it is better than any clay ive ever worked with. it really does make a huge difference and keep a look out for plenty of big things to come, because that mountain of clay is getting turned into a bunch of pots.

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