SCC pottery chosen for NC Welcome Center

Heritage arts instructors Susan Coe and Ed McIlvaine, along with Kari McIlvaine (Ed’s wife and a heritage arts student), recently had their pottery chosen for the Artist Count exhibit at the NC Welcome Center along I-26 West north of Asheville.

Eighteen artists from Jackson and Swain counties were chosen to represent Western North Carolina in the inaugural exhibit. The exhibit is titled “Smoky Mountains Sampler” and will be available for viewing until July 2017.

Artist Count, a project of the North Carolina Arts Council and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, was created to showcase the heritage arts and crafts from Western North Carolina by encouraging visitors to view and purchase artwork from area artists and craftsmen.

While pottery is the chosen art form for all three, their paths to become potters have been just as unique as their work.

“I had only thrown pottery once while on a trip to Japan, but there was a language barrier that kept me from understanding the pottery terms,” said Coe. “Even with not being able to understand what the instructor was saying, I made a few decent pieces. I decided to give it another try at SCC in 2008 after seeing a pamphlet advertising pottery classes. I have been doing pottery ever since.”

Coe went on to earn her heritage arts master potter’s certificate and now teaches classes for the heritage arts continuing education program at SCC’s Swain Center. 

After moving to WNC in 2011, the McIlvaines discovered their love of clay. They continued to advance their skills at SCC, and together they run Sawmill Creek Pottery in Bryson City. Both of them have earned their heritage arts master potter’s certificates, with Ed teaching alongside Coe at the SCC Swain Center.

For more information about SCC and the programs it offers, call 828.339.4000, visit or stop by your nearest SCC location.

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