Craft traditions didn’t just appear, fully-formed and mature. Artists tie their work to early techniques and pass these practices on in a continuum of creativity. ORIGINS features blacksmith Philip Simmons, potter Mark Hewitt, Vernon & Pam & Travis Owens of Jugtown Pottery, beadwork artist Teri Greeves, weaver Jim Bassler, and glass artist Paul Stankard. PBS premiere: October 7, 2009.
Philip Simmons (1912-2009) was a renowned blacksmith in Charleston, SC. At the age of 13, he dropped out of school and started his apprenticeship as an iron worker with Charleston native, Peter Simmons (no relation). Although his work ranges from ornamental fences, stair rails to window grills, he was most famous for his gates that contain elaborate designs of animals and trees. His work adorns the city of Charleston from end to end. He was recognized on both the state and national levels, receiving honors from the Smithsonian Museum and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Vernon Owens is a native of Seagrove in Moore County and his roots in pottery go back four to five generations. Vernon grew up working in the shop of M.L. Owens, his father, absorbing the style and shapes. In 1960, John Mare, the owner of Jugtown Pottery then, hired Vernon as the Jugtown thrower. Vernon continued at Jugtown Pottery through the ownership of Country Roads, Inc., a nonprofit corporation whose mission was the preservation of hand crafts. In 1983 Vernon bought the pottery and married potter Pam Lorette. He currently lives, works and sells his pots at Jugtown Pottery.
Pam’s pottery studies began with seven years of pottery apprenticeship, the traditional method of pottery study. She currently lives and works at Jugtown Pottery, making pots and developing glazes and firing techniques. She also oversees the museum at Jugtown Pottery. Pam is influenced by early American northern and southern wares as well as the classical forms that Jugtown became known for. Pam serves currently as a North Carolina Pottery Center Board Member.
Travis was born in 1985 and is the son of Vernon and Pam Owens. He began working in clay as soon as he could walk and grew up learning the craft of clay from his family. Travis received a BA in Art and Design at NC State University in 2007 and works at Jugtown Pottery.
Mark Hewitt is British born potter, who resides in North Carolina. Although his father and grandfather were the directors of Spode, a fine china manufacturing company, he decided to become a studio potter instead of an industry manager. He is known for his large planters, storage jars and vases fired with the traditional Southern alkaline glaze and salt glaze. He collects and refines local stoneware clays and his work is fired in a wood burning kiln.
Teri Greeves is a beadwork artist who lives in Santa Fe, NM. She is enrolled in the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma. Teri follows and updates the Kiowa tradition of beadwork, to tell the story of the American Indian, both contemporary and historical. Her works include beaded books, jewelry, and even high top sneakers!
Jim Bassler is a weaver. He was introduced to the textile traditions, including the hooking of rugs, at an early age from his father. The Cold War strategies gave him the opportunity to see the world and introduced him to the craft traditions of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The ethnic textiles that inspired him during his travels became the foundation for his work. His weavings also draw inspiration from pre-Columbian, Andean, and Mexican textile traditions.
Paul J. Stankard is a glass artist in Mantua, New Jersey. Paul follows in the tradition of centuries-old European lampwork, elevating the practice of flamework to the highest art form of botanical paperweights. Paul lives and works in an area of southern New Jersey where glass has been produced since 1739. Working with him in the studio are his daughters, Katherine, Pauline, and Christine, and long time assistant David Graeber, who assist him in the creation of his masterpieces. He attended Salem Community College, where he teaches flameworking.
Director Nigel Noble ∙ Creator & Executive Producer Carol Sauvion ∙ Producer Patricia Bischetti ∙ Writer Steve Fenton ∙ Editor Sandy Guthrie ∙ Director of Photography Don Lenzer ∙ Music Laura Karpman ∙ Associate Producer Rosey Guthrie ∙ Senior Advisor Jacoba Atlas ∙ Production Coordinator Denise Kang ∙ Narrator Randy Oglesby ∙ Sound Recordist Edward Luke O’Connor ∙ Assistant Camera Ronan Killeen ∙ Gaffer Joshua Pelham ∙ Gaffer, Santa Fe Mike Lamb ∙ Production Consultant, Carolinas Shoot Smokey Forester ∙ Location Manager, Charleston Steve Lepre ∙ Production Assistants Brad Geagley, Ander Kazmerski, Emily-Rose Wagner ∙ Production Accounting Judy Hing ∙ Main Title Director of Photography Steven Poster ASC ∙ Motion Control Cinematographer David Drzewiecki ∙ Assistant Camera Chuck Bemis ∙ Gaffer Elan Yaari ∙ Key Grip Philippe Casseus ∙ Motion Control Operator Helder K. Sun ∙ Motion Control Technicians Barry Walton, David Mansour ∙ Props Regina O’Brien ∙ Titles Graphic Design G. Lloyd Solly ∙ Assistant Editor Jennifer Hunter ∙ Post Production Sound & Video Shapeshifter ∙ Colorist Dean Chu ∙ Sound Mixer Kevin Burke ∙ Art Historical Consultant Jo Lauria ∙ Archival Materials Courtesy of Avery Research Center for African American History & Culture, Collection of the Museum of American Glass, Dan Barsotti, Jim Bassler, Ray Carofano, Jason Dowdle, David Flander Productions, Teri Greeves, James Hart, Jugtown Pottery, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Office of Archives & History, Andrew Neuhart, Salem Community College, Philip Simmons Foundation, Paul J. Stankard ∙ Special Thanks Ken Brecher, Cathleen Collins, Ernest Fleschmann, Steve Grafe, Susan A. Grode, Hidde Van Duym, Peg Yorkin, American College of the Building Arts, Bishop Gadsden Retirement Community, Veralee Bassler, Barbara Belle Sloan, Julian V. Brandt, Charleston Museum, Rossie Colter, Dennis Esquivel, Susan Gogan, David Graeber, Fritz Hamer, Heard Museum, Phoenix, Karin Higa, George Holt, Karen Hudson, J. Grahame Long, Gay LeCleire Taylor, John Maeda, Alex Matisse, Mark McKinney, Eudorah Moore, Carol Peppe Hewitt, Dr. John M. D. Pohl, Stacey Ravel Abarbanel, Dr. Patricia Rieff Anawalt, Joseph Sand, Jane Sauer Gallery, Carlton Simmons, South Carolina State Museum, Katherine Stankard Campbell, Cristine Stankard Kressley, Patricia A. Stankard, Pauline Stankard Iacovino, Lyssa Stapleton, Sunhead Projects, Sam Sweezy, Rachael Reitman, Noah Reitman, John Michael Vlach Ph.D., Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center, Ahbedoh White Eagle, Nimkees Ankwaad White Eagle ∙ Professional & Technical Services Provided By Au Bon Climal Winery, Illumination Dynamics, Katten, Muchin, Roseman, LLP, Jeffrey Meyer Turntables, Panavision ∙ Presented in Association With KCET / Los Angeles ∙ KCET Executive in Charge Bohdan Zachary ∙ KCET Production Executive Robert McDonnell ∙ This program was produced by Craft in America, Inc. © 2009 Craft In America. All Rights Reserved.