Gary Lee has been a studio potter for 29 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 19 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 once a month 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 Guild 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.
For the past 21 years, Gary has attended the North Carolina Potters Conference held the first full weekend of March in Asheboro, NC. Dwight Holland, former conference organizer has now passed the organizing reins over to Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke at Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove, NC in addition to the Randolph Arts Guild, where they continue to excel at bringing some of the world's foremost potters to North Carolina. A trip to the NC conference is not complete until you have experienced Saturday night when Dwight, who has one of the largest private pottery collections ever seen, invites all attendees to his house for an after party, complete with an old-fashioned BBQ supper and a chance to view his collection. Be sure to attend the 31st North Carolina Potters Conference on March 1-4, 2018 in Asheboro. This year's conference will feature KleinReid (James Klein, David Reid), Donna Polseno and John Neely. 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. Contact the Randolph Arts Guild at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. 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. 2018's Woodfire Workshop will feature Tom Coleman and Chris Austin, and will be held May 5 through May 19, 2018. For cost and 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 workshops. This frees him up for things
such as making sure that the blender is working properly for making Margaritas, and that the
CS 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
School in Brasstown, NC for 10 years, but has been unable to return due to workshop/business
commitments. A trip to John C. Campbell is an experience any artist should experience once in their
lifetime. Classes in pottery, wood turning, blacksmithing, basketry, jewelry, painting and music are
just a few of the many craft classes available.
As you can see, Gary's commitment to learning and sharing that knowledge is the foundation of Rising Sun's operation. Call the studio today to find out how you can start a creative journey in clay!