Gary Lee has been a studio potter for 32 years and has managed Rising Sun Pottery full time since November 2000 when he retired from his day job to become a full-time potter and business owner. His love for pottery began while living in Charlotte, NC when he started turning clay under the guidance of regionally and nationally known potter Lambeth Marshall of Waxhaw, NC. Later Gary continued his pottery education with Sprirt Square Clayworks
instructors Leon Nichols and Doug Blythe while a member of the organization's clay Co-op. Gary taught pottery
classes at the Co-op for four years before purchasing Rising Sun Pottery in
December 1999. He then moved to Lincolnton in July 2000 and retired from
BellSouth (33 years/33 days) in November of that year.
Gary has attended numerous workshops over the years and continues that
practice today in his quest for continuing education. With a philosophy of "to be
able to teach, you must be willing to learn", Gary conveys this knowledge to
his students and studio members. The list of workshops attended is a "who's
who" of the pottery world: Tom and Elaine Coleman, Randy Brodnax, Robin
Hopper, Rudy Audio, Janet Mansfield, Ron Myers, Frank Boyden, Michael
Sherrill, Steven Hill, Peter Rose, Matt Long, Marcia Selsor, Steven Branfman,
Cynthia Bringle, Bill van Gilder, the list continues..........
Carolina for 20 years, Gary rarely missed a meeting. But the business side of
Rising Sun Pottery and teaching workshop commitments finally became too
much and Gary dropped his membership. The guild meets several times a year
for a business/demonstration meeting and is host to several workshops each
year that brings some of the best known potters to Charlotte. In addition, the
Guild organizes two pottery sales for their members, one each in the spring and
fall. The Carolina ClayMatters Pottery Festival, as it is now called, is open to all members who meet the eligibility requirements. Visit the Carolina ClayMatters website for more information. For the past 23 years, Gary has attended the North Carolina Potters Conference held the first full weekend of March in Asheboro, NC. Unfortunately Dwight Holland, former conference organizer passed away in April 2019 after several years of ill health. Our thought and prayers go out to Dwight’s family and his many long time pottery friends. The organizing/administration of the NC Potters Conference has now been given over by the Randolph Arts Guild to the North Carolina Pottery Center and moved from Asheboro, NC down to Seagrove, NC, home of the NC Pottery Center. A trip to the NC Conference was not complete until you experienced Saturday night when Dwight, who had one of the largest private pottery collections ever seen, invited all attendees to his house for an after BBQ supper party to view his collection. Sadly this will not be possible now with Dwight’s death. His entire pottery collection has been bequeathed to East Carolina University where it will be on display and available for students in the Art Department to check out, view and study within their classes. The North Carolina Potters Conference will not be the same without Dwight Holland, but I am sure everyone will keep his memory alive each year going forward when they attend the Conference. Be sure to attend the 33rd North Carolina Potters Conference on March 5-8, 2020 in Asheboro, NC. The 2020 conference will feature Bede Clarke, Lisa Naples and Dan Finnegan. After wishing to give back in return for all of the great experiences at past conferences, Rising Sun Pottery has been a supporting corporate sponsor of the event since 2015. Visit the North Carolina Potters Conference website for details. For many years, Gary has attended the annual workshops held at Dan Finch's studio in Bailey, NC. Unfortunately, due to Wildacres Retreat workshop commitments, Gary has missed the last few years, but he highly recommends attending if you get the chance. These workshops are legend among potters for the diversity and talent Dan brings to his studio each year. Additionally, these workshops provide a social gathering for the attending potters who share ideas, renew friendships, learn new exciting techniques, and enjoy the fantastic meals provided by Dan's family, students and other community members. Gary was able to attend the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Encore Fall workshops with Randy Brodnax, Tom Coleman, Don Ellis and Dan Finch. What a great presentation! It is a wonderful weekend to spend with such legends learning new ideas and techniques. For more information, visit Conference Center in Little Switzerland, NC. In July, to assist with teaching, Gary now brings
an established potter who teaches the majority of the workshop. This frees him up for things
such as making sure that the blender is working properly for making Margaritas, and that the
CD player is loaded with Jimmy Buffet, etc... As we all know, "it's always 5 o'clock somewhere!"
At the September workshop, Gary provides the instruction, tailoring it to meet each potter's
Gary attended multiple wood fire/glaze pottery workshops taught by Peter Rose in addition to other
experience any artist should experience at least once in their lifetime. Year round classes in pottery,
wood turning, blacksmithing, basketry, jewelry, painting and music are just a few of the many craft
classes available for beginners and up.
As you can see, Gary's commitment to learning and sharing his knowledge is the foundation of Rising Sun Pottery’s teaching experience. Call the studio today to find out how you can start your own creative journey in clay!