Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson: Bulldog Pottery
Our Bulldog Pottery studio is a collaborative environment that provides us with support to express our independent voices: more than we could individually. Side by side in our studio we work as a team. We work together to research and experiment on an ever evolving array of ideas, techniques, clays, and glaze formulations. We make sophisticated decorative and functional pottery glazed with a variety of rich and unusual surfaces. Together we have formulated original and distinctive crystalline glazes. As we make our pots, we think about the shape and how it will compliment and hold the glaze. A shape with curves and textural details can hold and trap a glaze for a rich and decorative effect. With clay we can allude to the natural world. We create fossilized animal effects, grow molybdenum and other crystals, and develop glazes that look like frosted glass, or falling snow.
Making pottery in the studio is an orchestration of designing the shape, decorating the form, applying the glaze to accentuate its surface, and firing the glazed piece to maturity. The daily process of working with clay is a gratifying experience for me. I want my functional work to be beautiful and comfortable to use.
I primarily work with smooth textured clays, such as porcelain or light colored stoneware. The clay is selected for the brilliant color responses that occur in glazes applied and fired onto white or light toned surfaces. I enjoy decorating the surface of the pots I make, and many times I will design the clay forms for particular glazing techniques. My approach to surface decoration varies depending on my choice of glazes, the type of firing, and my current mood. Sometimes I like to decorate the piece with a simple swirl, and other times the plate becomes a canvas for an insect image. I may choose to explore how the tight patterning of a dot pattern can affect ones vision, by creating the opportunity for optical art movements and vibration. I am fascinated with macro photography and exploring my garden, and often collect images of insects in their natural environments. I utilize macro photography to capture stories in the garden foliage. These snapshots of the natural world generate colorful compositions, provide snapshots into time, and encourage the imagination to explore environments that are often overlooked.
Samantha Henneke is a full-time studio potter living in Seagrove, North Carolina with her husband Bruce Gholson. Together they work in the clay studio and maintain their pottery sales shop for the public, called Bulldog Pottery. Samantha grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia and attended her hometown college, Virginia Tech. While searching the halls for her place in life, she found it during her the spring of 1991 while taking a pottery class. After completing one more year at Virginia Tech, she transferred to the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in the fall of 1992. She graduated with the honors of cum laude in 1995, when she completed her degree Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ceramics.
Samantha describes her studio art pottery aesthetics as traditional with a flare - a dotted mug, an insect on a plate, or a swirl on a covered jar. Samantha also enjoys creating fantasy garden landscapes depicting life in the garden. She composes crystalline glazed paintings on porcelain canvases of scenes such as a red dressed girl working with a dung beetle, a larger than life red-eye fly portrait, or a girl skipping through a garden of flowering shoes. She participates in exhibitions throughout the year, has appeared in a number of publications, and her ceramic work can be found in national museums such as the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Alabama, the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Gregg Museum of Art and Design in Raleigh, North Carolina.