THE Crafts Center
Technician articles

Craft Center shows off award-winning artists

The "Reflections and Altered Surfaces" collection will be until Nov.

This article appeared in the Friday, September 12, 2003 issue of the NC State student newspaper, Technician in the "Diversions" section.

by Ashley Hink, Staff Writer

Critiquing visual art employs recognition of form, technique, color, style, subject, precision, media and materials used, and numerous other variables depending on the individual piece. Most works present images through application of various media on templates like canvas, wood or stone. However, modern art has expanded those rules, completely deserting any guidelines pertaining to the creation of visual art. Unexpected materials, manipulation and technique combine to create intriguing, thought-provoking work that forces viewers to disregard preconceived expectations and norms.

"Reflections and Altered Surfaces" is a collection of photographs, clay, wood and fabric designs produced by four local artists and staff members of the N.C. State Crafts Center.

These notable artists share not only impressive credentials, their works have appeared in numerous shows, galleries, publications and received a collection of awards. Each artist uses individualized techniques to manipulate surfaces and present images in extraordinary ways. The exhibit is located at the Crafts Center and is on display until Nov. 2.


The collection is a must-see for any photography lover. Charlie Cawley successfully challenges viewers with an assortment of photographs simply titled "Refletages." He captures city scenes through reflections and altered lighting to create distorted yet honest images.


"Refletage #130" depicts a view of an American Airlines plane connected to a boarding gate through the corner windows of a waiting lounge at RDU. In one window, a large American flag hands while the adjacent window reflects rows of empty red seats, a sign with information written in Spanish and lights lining the ceilings above. The photography, taken one month after the Sept. 11 attacks, captures the overwhelming fear, safety concerns and uncertainty Americans felt at that time.


Other photographs reveal reflected images of a construction site in downtown Raleigh, the downtown center circle in Pittsboro, a busy street in Los Angeles and even the aging entrance of Thompson Theatre. The pictures, each priced at $750, appear manipulated through computer design, but are indeed true images obscured by glass, window, metal and water reflections.


Fiber and fabric artist Lyric Kinard uses a variety of media and materials to create a beautiful and vibrant array of works ranging from wall hangings to a bring green tunic. A hanging titled "Gold Leaf" uses dyed, pieced, stitched, quilted and screen printed chiffon to make a dazzling piece resembling an autumn sunset viewed through a barred window. Other pieces employ the use of stone, metal washers, bright stitching and various printed fabrics to create other equally beautiful yet much more affordable works.

Well-known potter Edge Barnes, a Raleigh native, adds a collection of clay vases and bowls to the exhibit. The first basic forms were stretched in a manner to change and manipulate the nature of surface decorations. While the pottery is simple in shape, the earth-tone surfaces are beautifully cracked, glazed and textured with spirals. Some of the pieces are not for sale but others comfortably range from $50 to $140.


The remaining works exhibited in the gallery are the chip carvings made by Leon Harkins. Chip carving originated in Scandinavia and is made with three basic cuts in less grainy woods. The process is long and tedious; most pieces are saved as heirlooms rather than sold. Fish are the subjects for most of Harkin's carvings, but there are also beautifully decorated boxes and figures of Native American women. "Square tower House" is a wall plaque that displays block homes built out of mountainsides in Mesa Verde, N.M. Many are not deeply stained or painted, but are meticulously detailed with the carvings alone.

Reflections and Altered Surfaces" brings together very different types of work, but all of the pieces are beautifully crafted and reveal unique styles and techniques the artists use to manipulate, recreate and texture their media. Artists and non-artists alike will find the collection interesting. The works are undeniably impressive and challenge people to expand their perceptions of visual art beyond conventionality and tradition.


Scan of the article from the Technician. Special thanks to Bradley Wilson for permission for using this article.


Images associated with the article:

Inside Out Pot - Edge Barnes

Salmon Close Up - Leon Harkins

Stitch Detail - Lyric Kinard

Thompson Reflection - Charlie Cawley


Triplets Are Up For Adoption!!!

This article appeared in the Arts NC State newsletter,
distributed in the Spring of 2004.

Julie Olson, Durham art potter and an instructor with The Crafts Center, offers for adoption multiple sets of her whimsical clay triplets, "The Boys" and "The Girls"! Each unique three-member set of young'uns" displays movement and attitude as they interact as siblings. These babies must go to good homes where they will be well cared for and loved. Adoption fees for each trio are $80.00, and include official adoption papers and care instructions, which will be given to their new family prior to going home. Information about "the kids" birth mother and a photograph for their memory album will also be included. Mom Julie continues to gain accolades in ceramic circles, most recently having work chosen to appear in the Southern Living Idea House "Newberry Park" in Chapel Hill's Meadowmont subdivision. The cover of Southern Living Secrets to Great Baths 2003, showcases the master bath of newberry Park, along with three of Julie's covered treasure boxes! Julie has been an instructor with The Crafts Center for over 15 years, and has taught classes from beginning level to advanced. Julie is known for her special project classes and her emphasis on refining technique. Her current class offering at The Crafts Center is entitled "Tea Things" during which students will create complete tea sets. She has been instrumental in fundraising efforts from the auctioning of a totem pole created by students in one of her advanced classes to an ongoing sale of terra cotta garden pots created by volunteers from both The Crafts Center's studio and members of the Triangle Potters' Guild. Julie is a member of both Carolina Designer Craftsmen and Piedmont Craftsmen. She makes art at her studio in Durham, frequently hosting sales there. Julie is represented at the following galleries: Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor, Article Gallery in Charlotte, Tyndall's Gallery in Chapel Hill and she plans on opening her own gallery soon. Please visit her website: or the website for The Crafts Center to learn more!


Craft Center offers pots for adoption

This article appeared in the Friday, March 5, 2004 issue of the NC State student newspaper, Technician on the front page.

by Rachel Rogers, Senior Staff Reportertriplets

Interested in adoption? No, not babies. Pots.

The Crafts Center hosted a fund-raiser last night by offering pots for adoption. All of the proceeds went to the newly created Brita M. Tate Endowment, which is the first endowment solely created for the Crafts Center, an Arts N.C. State member.

"In the long run, organizations in the arts need endowments to support their endeavors," Christy Newell, associate director of the Crafts Center, said. "This endowment will support whatever we need. Now we are directing all of our fund-raising efforts to that fund."

This adoption was an idea conceived by Julie Olson, a potter and an instructor at the center.

"This fund-raiser is my way of giving back to my community which is the craftsman. All the proceeds go to the fund for craftsmen," Olson said. Brita M. Tate, a former potter and assistant director of Talley Student Center, was a long-time participant at the Crafts Center and well known in the Raleigh arts scene. She was a founding member of the Triangle Potters' Guild. Tate's children created this endowment upon her death, which is the first to benefit this Arts N.C. State Program.

The hope is that the endowment will give the Crafts Center the ability to continue its many programs as well as add new ones to create an environment for students.

"She created one of the richest and most varied programs of international cultural activities in the state," Newell said. "These international nights attracted not only N.C. State students and faculty but also brought thousands of visitors to the campus from across the Triangle."

As part of the fund-raiser, Olson created 25 sets of triplets offered for adoption. Each set of triplets costs $80.

Those who adopt the triplets will also receive instructions.

"These triplets like to play follow the leader. They don't like cats or dog tails, but they aren't afraid of heights," Newell said jokingly.

Adoptive parents received a photo of Olson, the "birth mother," along with adoption papers and a care and feeding guide.

"These are things that go on at the Crafts Center that are right under the noses of students and they don't even know. They can use this as a resource to release frustrations, build up creative skills and learn about creative skills they never had," Newell said. "They also have the opportunity to work with artists the caliber of Julie Olson."

According to Olson, it's important for students to have the opportunity to create and the classes offered at the Crafts Center provide this type of outlet.

"There is an art to everything you do. There is the art that you are and then there is the art that you create because of who you are," Olson said.

Olson believes that people often turn away from creating art because they do not think they can.

"It's all technique, like learning to drive a car or ride a bike. And there's so many things going on here to allow students to build that technique," Olson said.

Newell and Olson both reflected on students who have come through the Crafts Center. Some want to continue artistic talents they already had and focus on one specific area. Other students simply stumble across the Crafts Center and begin taking classes or maybe even find a niche.

"The neat thing is to see these students come in thinking they cannot do anything and then watch them blossom," Newell said.

Sally Council, a patron of the Crafts Center, found out about the fundraiser on a local news channel.

"I do pottery out here," Council said. "I hadn't been able to do it since 1999 and I just started back."

Overall, the coordinators deemed the event a success and hope the pots go to happy homes.

"It would be nice if they [pots] all went to nice homes," Olson said. "Not to mention if we could make a generous contribution to the Tate Endowment."