East Fork is nestled at the end of an holler on an old tobacco field, between steep sloped green mountains, 30 minutes northwest of Asheville, North Carolina. Alex Matisse founded the business in 2010 and brought along John Vigeland in 2013.
While they each maintain their own artistic vision, they share materials, vocabularies, aesthetic values and high standards of quality. Working side-by-side, they influence each other silently but profoundly. Though they pay due reverence to their centuries-old ceramic lineage, their work is adaptive to the ever changing, more interconnected vernacular of the present and future.
Alex & John are assisted by Connie Coady and Amanda Hollomon-Cook.
Alex founded East Fork Pottery in 2010 to create a shared workspace where skilled, like-minded craftspeople could make work in an artistically supportive and symbiotic environment. While encouraging individual aesthetic expression, Alex ensures that East Fork maintains a cohesive and intentional vision. While nodding reverently to centuries-old ceramic traditions, his work is adaptive of the ever-changing, more interconnected vernacular of the present and future. Above all else, he hopes to make beautiful objects and encourage others to do the same.
Connie Rose Coady
Connie brings her big city voice to our small town business. She hopes to interpret our treasured North Carolina clay tradition to a broader, more diverse audience. She encourages the natural union of considerate food with handmade dinnerware by bringing area chefs and lovers of eating, craft, and community together at the table. In addition to being the official East Fork Party Thrower, her roles include sharing our story through writing, photography, and social media.
CFO, Moral Compass
John joined East Fork Pottery in 2013 after three years of apprenticeship in Seagrove, North Carolina. John’s work is an organic union of influences from 14th century Korean pottery to modernist poetry to Mark Rothko and much in between. His first love of painting manifests on the clay through his fluid and expressive slip-decoration. EFP is forever indebted to John’s accountant-parents for raising a financially savvy son – when his hands aren’t covered in clay, John valiantly assures that East Fork Pottery remains in the black and tax law-abiding.
Born and raised in North Georgia, Amanda had a brief stint studying ceramics in an academic setting, but intuited quickly that she wanted to more fully adopt the lifestyle of a working potter. She began her apprenticeship with East Fork Pottery in the summer of 2014 and has quickly become an asset to the team. She contributes an unbridled enthusiasm for all things clay and remarkable hand skills that improve day after day.
APPRENTICESHIPS AT EAST FORK POTTERY:
PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY HIRING. WE STILL ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR US TO HAVE ON FILE FOR THE NEXT ROUND.
Our Apprenticeship model is structured around the transmission of a discrete skill-set from teacher to student. We ask for a minimum 2-year commitment. During that time, apprentices labor for the pottery in the mornings and are instructed how to make the studio’s work in the afternoons, Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm. Through the morning labor, apprentices learn the skills required to run the operations of a working pottery, such as properly preparing and stacking wood for firings, running and maintaining a chainsaw, maintaining kiln furniture for a large woodfired salt kiln, managing clay and glaze materials, loading and firing large woodkilns, etc. The afternoons are an opportunity for the apprentice to get an education in the technical skillset required to make our studio’s work: fluid and accurate throwing, a sense of form rooted in traditional folk pottery but hybridized with modern influences, traditional decorative and glazing techniques, etc. All work that apprentices make is property of East Fork Pottery, and is marked as such.
It is our belief that the attentive and earnest practice of replicating a teacher’s work in a guided environment is one of the best ways to quickly gain these skills. It is our hope that an applicant is open to the value of this sort of training and isn’t focused on creating a signature body of work in their own voice. The type of originality that we value grows out of a technical mastery of the material and years of compassionate practice.
Having both been trained in a similar apprenticeship model, Alex and John prioritize maintaining a respectful environment for the student to work within and, in turn expect that the student will respect the work that is being done. To that end, all labor that we assign to students is directly related to the operations of the pottery business and thus pertinent to their education. We also make a point of paying students fairly for their labor: starting at $1,166/month for the 20 hours/week of labor that we require. We are not able to provide housing at this point—apprentices are expected to find housing in the surrounding area. We provide lunch.
We strongly encourage applicants to get in touch with potters who have apprenticed or are currently apprenticing. Find Amanda’s contact info on our “Contact” page (our current apprentice).
If you are interested in applying, fill out the questionnaire below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Date of Birth:
3. Where, with whom, and for how long have you studied pottery?
4. Why are you interested in this type of apprenticeship?
5. Do any aspects of the apprenticeship system as described above play to your personal strengths? To your weaknesses?
6. Can you safely lift 50 pounds over your head and 100 pounds off the ground?
7. Anything else about yourself you would like to share?