Artist Walter B. Stephen contributed to Western North Carolina’s identity as a flourishing site for pottery production and craftsmanship in the early 20th century. This exhibition features art pottery and functional vessels from each stage of Stephen’s career, from his origins discovering the medium alongside his mother in Tennessee to his multi-decade production just outside of Asheville.
In Arden, NC, Stephen founded his third and last pottery studio, Pisgah Forest, which he operated from 1926 until his death in 1961. It was at this studio that the artist perfected the “cameo” decoration technique for which he became best known. His hand-painted images, achieved with layers of white translucent clay, often feature American folk imagery, from covered wagons and livestock to cabins and spinning wheels. A selection of works from the Museum’s Collection showcases his innovation in form and in decorative surface details, including experimentation with crystalline glazing.
This exhibition is organized by the Asheville Art Museum and curated by Alexis Meldrum, curatorial assistant.