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Finch Pottery plans open house

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BAILEY — When asked how many years he had been hosting his annual pottery open house, the best answer Dan Finch could come up with was “a bunch.”

“I have no idea how many open houses we have done. but we’ve done a bunch,” Finch said. “They started when I was teaching at Nash Community College and I was about 24 years old, and I’m 73 years old now. It has been done every year since.”

The open house is planned from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday at Dan Finch Pottery, 5526 Finch Nursery Lane near Bailey.

Around 50 potters, all affiliated with Finch Pottery, will have their pottery for sale, including functional pottery, sculpture and jewelry. The famous Finch Bluebird nesting boxes will also be for sale.

Finch said more pottery-making demonstrations will be held this year, including hand-building, wheel-throwing and raku.

“Jim Howard and his wife, Alison, who is also a potter, are coordinating the demonstrations this year,” Finch said. “Ken Uhlman will be in charge of the raku area where visitors can buy one of my pots for $20, and they can glaze it, then it’s fired and ready for them within 45 minutes. We’re not charging what the pottery is really worth because we are more interested in people being able to have the experience.”

Although Finch and his wife, Amy, coordinate the annual event, he sees their roles as secondary.

“This is our studio and farm, but the main goal is to give many of these potters their only venue of the year and also to get art to the public that is very affordable.”

Music will be provided during the day by Southern Star Band as well as by Rebecca Bryant from Lynchburg, known as the singing cowgirl.

“Rebecca has been at the open house for the last two years, walking around the farm and singing to folks,” Finch said.

New to the open house will be a food truck serving wood-fired pizzas, barbecue and hot dogs.

A popular area at each year’s open house is Santa’s Workshop, where children 12 and under can purchase vendors’ pottery for $3, $5 or $10. Face-painting will also be offered.

Patch Wilkinson, a potter from Wilson, has been a student of Finch’s for 13 years and has participated in the open house for 12 years. Wilkinson specializes in high-firing functional pottery, making plates, bowls, mugs, food bowls and wine tumblers, among other things.

“This is the only show that I do outdoors, but I have pottery in shops in the Outer Banks area, and I also do the end-of-year show with the Arts Council of Wilson,” Wilkinson said. “The Finch open house is such a nice way to see different people, and I really look forward to it. After doing this for quite a few years, I have customers that come back and see what I’m doing and just to say hello.”

Wilkinson said it’s even a way for Finch’s students to meet and socialize with each other.

“You have your nighttime studio people and your daytime studio people, and we all get together at this event,” Wilkinson said. “It’s nice catching up with others and maybe buy each other’s work that you’ve admired during your time at the studio but you’ve never seen the actual potter.”

For more information about the open house, call Finch Pottery at 252-235-4664 or email dan.finch@earthlink.net.

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