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The Gallery at Seven Oaks, Warm Springs, VA

Clay Artisans





Brian VanNostrand - Potter


Bryan Van Nostrand pottery

Brian lives and works in a remote area of West Virginia where he throws his pots at the wheel and fires them in wood-burning kilns that he has built himself. Firing is a labor-intensive and closely-tended process of at least 14 hours. Brian's vessels, platters, and vases show the interaction of hardwood and softwood fire on his subtle glazes and unglazed, incised pieces. His forms beckon one to hold and touch. (More photos)



David Morgan - Potter


David Morgan potteryDavid Morgan's pottery is richly glazed in colors such as copper red and layered with other hues. Looking into a vessel is like gazing into a deep pool of gorgeous, saturated color.

Though he works in the functional tradition, David considers his work to be more contemporary than traditional in effect. He draws inspiration from nature, integrating natural motifs and patterns such as carved leaves, fish and birds into his pieces. He often carves the outside of the piece using a scraffito (also "sgraffito") technique in which a layer of clay is painted on the outside and then carved through to show the contrasting color underneath. He also draws and paints on many of his pieces with clay slip.

David Morgan has been making functional stoneware for 30 years. He lives and creates his pottery in a rural area near Athens, Georgia. Over the past five years he has branched into using a salt kiln, experimenting with the effects of the salt atmosphere on his beautiful glazes (More photos)


Terry Gess - Potter


Terry Gess potteryTerry Gess is an internationally acclaimed studio potter in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. His invitations to work in China, Finland, Estonia, France, and at the renowned Penland School have all influenced his unique style with its very ancient - and modern - echoes. Terry's pots, trays, vases and vessels are imbued with presence, with a sense of soul. Although they are very special pieces indeed, the artist means for one to enjoy their heft in the hand and their practical use as part of everyday life.

From the artist's statement:

"While I am committed to the development and promotion of my career through galleries and exhibitions, my pottery is ultimately meant to be placed in people's homes. An object of small scale allows a work of power and substance to be incorporated into the household environment. It assures the role of tactility and brings beauty to the commonplace."

Sipping tea from one of Terry's mugs, putting wildflowers in one of his subtly stunning vases, can somehow elevate the ordinary moment into the realm of transcendence.


Frank Zimmerman - Potter


Frank Zimmerman potteryCaptivated by the beauty, simplicity and functionality of Pueblo Indian pottery during a stay in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Frank Zimmerman enrolled in classes to explore clay pottery. From a quote by the potter. "I found myself enthralled by the magical transformation of soft clay into an enduring ceramic vessel and enjoyed seeing friends and family using my pottery in daily living."

Stoneware pottery fired in modern gas and electric kilns is Frank's primary focus, though he sometimes uses rustic firing methods such as pit fire and raku. We are especially pleased to have a selection of Frank Zimmerman's pit-fired pieces as well as some of his other work. The Gallery's pit-fired vessels were fired a mile south of Cliff House in the sands of San Francisco's Ocean Beach. The artist states that: "A favorable off shore wind provided a steady draft for the four-hour firing period, yielding vessels with superior wood fire decoration." These non-functional, decorative pieces are suitable for dry arrangements-only, due to the relatively low firing temperatures.

Pit-fired pottery shares a tradition with pottery produced 6000 years BC. In the rusts, blacks, rose-pinks, and whites of his pieces, Frank tell us that "the romance and mystery of wood burning fire remains frozen on the face of each piece, just as it did when the first clay vessels were produced in prehistoric times."


Chris Troy - "Clay Handler"


Chris Troy Clay HandlerChris Troy creates objects from clay with textures, shapes and forms reflecting the natural surrounding of her home studio in Seneca, South Carolina. The Gallery at Seven Oaks is pleased to present her gorgeous oak-leaf-and acorn-themed pots, mugs, platters and tureens. Her highly functional pieces combine the best of hand built elements and wheel thrown and/or slab-built forms. From Chris' artist statement:

"I see myself as a handler of clay, one who is a partner in the passage of the clay through its life stages. I expect to always derive pleasure from the touch of a pot and from the comfort of its surface."

Indeed, her pieces are a pleasure and comfort to the eye and to the hand. (More photos)