A fire at Whynot

Went to some of the potteries in Seagrove, N.C., today. A point of conversation at some is the competing pottery festivals the small town will have in November.

Like retailers from Wal-Mart on down, the Christmas shopping season is critical for the artisans that operate the pottery shops roughly from Seagrove down N.C. 705 (the so-called "Pottery Highway") to the Jugtown area.

Historically, a pottery festival has been held at the Seagrove School, but this year, a large contingent of Seagrove potters will hold their own festival at the former Luck's Bean plant. It's called the Celebration of Seagrove Potters and will have a gala and an auction of special pieces. I hope to make it.

However, one pottery had some other news. At Whynot Pottery, Mark and Meredith Heywood, who call themselves first generation neo-traditionalist potters and have been operating their shop since 1982, gave us a tour of the fire damage that destroyed part of the building where they produce their pottery.

Early this month as a violent evening thunderstorm was ending, they heard a loud boom. Meredith said she thought a lightning bolt might have hit in the yard. Mark went out after the rain ended to check on their shop. As he was looking outside, he saw what looked like fog, but as he left the house, he realized it smelled of smoke.

Lightning had struck the shop in the area where they had their potter's wheels and resource materials. Fire had started between the walls and quickly spread to the attic area.

Meredith tells the story at her blog.

Luckily, much of the production area, made up of a couple rooms built over time, could be cleaned up and they are going about recovering. Neither the showroom/shop building nor their house was damaged.

If you're ever in the Seagrove area, stop by their shop; they're fine folks. (Directions are on their web site and it's on the maps available at nearly every shop.)