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Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2013

North Carolina’s got a great pottery tradition, but it always runs that line between art and craft. When she saw these huge pots in this exhibition and it was in the art museum ... she said, ‘This is fine art.’” “Mrs. Goodnight had seen, in 2005 … an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art called ‘The Potters’ Eye’ and it featured the large-scale pottery of Ben Owen III and Mark Hewitt,” Kick says. “She loved it. That was a great show and she thought, ‘We really need this in the hotel.’ North Carolina’s got a great pottery tradition, but it always runs that line between art and craft. When she saw these huge pots in this exhibition and it was in the art museum … she said, ‘This is fine art.’” The color palette of both potters’ glazes complement the color palette of the hotel. “It really helped me become an amateur interior designer,” says Ben Owen III. Working with hotel designer Frank Nicholson, Owen III says it’s been a lot of fun designing what he looks for — proportion and color. Collaborating with SAS, the Goodnight’s software corporation and The Umstead’s parent company’s art and scenic crew, Owen III over- produced the dozen pots Ann Goodnight commissioned to allow her the latitude to make choices. He delivered this larger body of work and was pleasantly surprised to learn she accepted all of it. “I love that story,” Kick says. “I think it’s so charming because it was really hard for Mrs. Goodnight to say, ‘These are good and these aren’t as good.’ She loved them all; she really loved them all.” The pieces that are not displayed are reserved in the corporate pottery barn and the hotel’s Promenade pottery case, which was designed and fabricated by the art and scenic crew. Kick says the art and scenic crew is critical in every way. “They were the beginning crew that assisted and still assist Mrs. Goodnight in art purchasing and placement. The team … not only investigates art for her … they also frame and they hang and have a huge studio … where they can put things together for her. SAS’s collection is quite immense. All of their buildings have artwork in them,” Kick says. The crew also mounts the Promenade’s rotating exhibits that change four times a year and nurses original pieces that may have been accidentally damaged. “There’s no one, like in a museum, who’s guarding the art. People touch things, so whenever there’s a scratch or a piece that popped off … they’re right over here, ready to get it fixed,” Kick says. Hewitt’s and Owen III’s pots are considered the stars of the hotel. In addition to what is now on display and in storage, both potters are being commissioned to create new large-scale pieces for the hotel’s spa, which is in renovation this spring for three months. Owen III ponders better ways to build his big pots. Already, each piece is created in stages. Large pots are made in three or four pieces. Extremely large pots, five feet tall or larger, may be created in seven or eight pieces. Resolving pottery design challenges is a trait passed down from 18 WBM may 2013


Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2013
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