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Charles Counts

Biography to Display: 

1937 Born Kentucky

2000 Died Nigeria

EDUCATION

1952-1956 BA History, Art, Berea College, Berea, Kentucky

1956-1957 MFA Ceramics, Textiles, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

1957-1958 Ceramic Design University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

APPRENTICESHIPS AND RESIDENCIES

1957-1958 Summers, Apprenticeship Training, Pond Farm, Guerneville, California

1988-1992 Potter in Residence, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

United States Army

University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Dalton State College, Dalton, Georgia

1958-1962 Studio potter, Knoxville, Tennessee

1972-2000 University of Maiduguri, Zaria, Borno State, Nigeria

 

Charles Counts' quest for ceramic competence led him to Pond Farm where he studied with Marguerite Wildenhain. His work demonstrates his interest in and the importance he places on simple forms. The surfaces are embellished with mishima drawings, deep carving and wax resist patterns drawn from the natural imagery he saw around his studio. Counts’ output includes tile murals and other architectural features

Counts’ work reflects his interest in preserving the art forms of Appalachia. Another major influence was the aesthetics of the Bauhaus Movement which he absorbed during his apprenticeship with Marguerite Wildenhain at Pond Farm. Counts studied with three leading of the potters of the time, F. Carlton Ball, Susan Peterson and George James while studying at the University of Southern California.

In 1959 with his first wife, Rube Nelle Waldrop Counts, he founded and operated Beaver Ridge Pottery near Knoxville, Tennessee.  There are 10,000 pieces inscribed “Beaver Ridge”. Later the Counts established a production and training center devoted to pottery and quilting at Rising Fawn on Lookout Mountain, Georgia which was the Counts’ studio for 25 years.

 A speech about African pottery by Michael Cardew in 1972 changed the course of Charles Counts' life. He soon moved to Nigeria with his second wife, Hedi Bak, where they lived until his death there from Malaria in 2000.

Counts was also an accomplished quilter and weaver.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Berea College, Berea, Kentucky

Georgia State Art Collection, quilts and pottery

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina

Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Reece Museum, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC

Southern Highland Craft Guild, Asheville, North Carolina

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Anonymous. The Life and Works of Charles Count (1934-2000). Asheville, NC: Southern Highland Craft Guild, 2010.

Barker, Garry. The Handcraft Revival in Southern Appalachia, 1930-1990. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1991.

Brady, James. “Charles Counts (1934-2000).” New Georgia Encyclopedia, January 12, 2016.

Bullard,Helen. Crafts and Craftsmen of the Tennessee Mountains. Fall Church, VA: The Summit Press Ltd., 1976.

Counts, Charles. Common Clay. Anderson, SC: Droke House/Hallux, 1971.

______________. Pottery workshop: A Study in the Making of Pottery from Idea to Finished Form. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1976/1976.

_____________. “Staying and Leaving.” Appalachian Heritage 5, no. 3 (1977).

_____________. “A Handful of Clay: A Memoir on Oak Ridge.” Studio Potter (December 1993).

_____________. Encouraging American Craftsmen: Report of the Interagency Crafts Committee. Washington, DC, 1972.

Counts, Charles and Bill Haddox. Common Clay. Oviedo, Fla: Gentle Breeze Publishers, 2002. 

Counts, Charles, Garry Barker, Nancy Darrell, and Nikki Josheff. The Life and Works of Charles Counts: (1934-2000). Asheville, NC: Southern Highland Craft Guild, 2010. 

Koplos, Janet and Bruce Metcalf. Makers: A History of American Studio Craft. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Levin, Elaine. The History of American Ceramics: From Pipkins and Bean Pots to Contemporary Forms, 1607 to the Present. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1988.

Ramsey, Bets and T. Fred Miller. “Handmade Quilts For Sale.” Appalachian Heritage 3, no. 2 (1975).

Schwarz, Dean and Geraldine Schwarz. Marguerite Wildenhain and the Bauhaus: An Eyewitness Account. Decorah, IA: South Bear Press, 2007.

Shaw, Robert. American Quilts: The Democratic Art, 1789-2007. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing, 2014.

Sweezy, Nancy. Raised in Clay: The Southern Pottery Tradition. Chapel Hill, NC: Chapel Hill Books, 1994.

Ceramics Monthly 31 (1983).

Zaleski, Anita. Georgia Quilts: Piecing Together a History (Wormsloe Foundation Publication Series). Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2006.

 

CV or Resume: Click Here to Download
Source: The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives

 

 

 

the center for craft, creativity & design This research was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, Inc.
   
southern highland craft guild The Archive of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

 

Typical Marks

A number of signatures were used through the years: Charles Counts, Charles Counts Beaver Ridge, Charles Counts Rising Fawn, Beaver Ridge, Rising Fawn

1959-1962
ca 1965
1962-1982
1962-1982
ca 1970
1980-1990
Coffee Service
Date: ca 1960
Method: Thrown
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
Vase
Date: ca 1965
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
E. John Bullard Collection
E. John Bullard Collection
Plate
Date: ca 1970
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sgraffito
Southern Highland Craft Guild Collection
Photo: Southern Highland Craft Guild
Southern Highland Craft Guild Collection
Photo: Southern Highland Craft Guild
Covered Jar
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Slip
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
Jar
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Slip
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified June 12, 2019. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/counts