Cart 0
2019 Little Mountain Festival Poster

2019 Little Mountain Festival Poster

The Little Mountain Festival:

Saturday, October 12th, 10am - 4pm

2019 marks the 44th Little Mountain Festival, and the fifth year that Darby and I have hosted it. The gas kiln will be fired that week, and we’ll unload it at 11:00am after I give a brief talk about my work. Outside the studio, musicians will gather and hold impromptu jam sessions ranging in style from Old Time to Celtic to Bluegrass to Blues, depending on who's playing.

2019 Guest Artists:

Richard Beard : Beard Instruments

Richard Beard and one of his guitars

Richard Beard and one of his guitars

Richard Beard, one of the finest luthiers in our region and host of WNCW's Celtic Winds, makes an array of quality stringed instruments including guitars, mandolins, dulcimers, and more. He has participated in the Little Mountain Festival for many years, and will have a selection of his work available for sale right outside the studio. Click here to visit his Facebook page.

Hannah Seng : Paintings and Prints

Sharing the Branch  by Hannah Seng

Sharing the Branch by Hannah Seng

Musician and artist Hannah Seng will join us again this year. Based out of Saluda, Hannah's "painting and songwriting strive[s] to convey a sense of place influenced by the lyrical themes found in traditional Appalachian & Celtic music." She will have a selection of paintings and prints available for sale. Click here to visit her website!

Cold Mountain  by Hannah Seng

Cold Mountain by Hannah Seng

Little Mountain Festival History:

In 1973, Claude and Elaine Graves founded Little Mountain Pottery in rural Polk County, NC. They converted a historic country store building into their studio and gallery, built their home in the woods, and started their journey in ceramics that would span over 40 years. Every October, the Graves would host an open house and kiln opening at their studio. The event gradually grew to include various guest artists and musical performances. Claude would unload the kiln and discuss his work with a crowd gathered around, and people would pile into the back of the studio like sardines to get first pick of the new pieces. (Not many potters continue this tradition of unloading a kiln for an audience. Most "kiln openings" you see now involve the pots being unloaded, sorted, and arranged before the main event, avoiding any uncertainty concerning the firing.) When the Graves retired in 2014, we knew we wanted to carry on this event.


 American Craft Week

This is the fifth year that we have participated in American Craft Week, and the Little Mountain Festival will be a featured event. Here is a description of American Craft Week from their website:

It's an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of American craft. Every day thousands of American artists share their vision and talent by producing amazing hand-made decorative and functional objects. And every day thousands of craft retailers share their love of these items by displaying, promoting and selling them. As one craft artist put it, "this is the creative economy!"

While other industry associations have long touted their products, the craft industry has lacked a single way to be highly visible. So we ask you to join us in publicizing, educating and displaying American Craft for ten days each October. Join the national celebration of American Craft!

American Craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. It contributes to our nation's economy, our balance of trade, and the fabric of our national history. It is original, beautiful and enduring, so let's tell the world!

Click here to visit the ACW website and learn more!




Kiln Openings

The tradition of holding a public kiln opening is largely lost. Most often potters unload their kiln, clean, sort, and photograph the pots, and then invite the public to their studio for a sale. Over the forty years that Claude and Elaine Graves ran Little Mountain Pottery, they always invited the public to be present during kiln openings, creating a real sense of excitement and uncertainty. Tyson continues this practice, hosting multiple kiln opening events every year.

The kiln is usually fired on a Thursday, cools all day Friday, and is then ready to open on Saturday during the event. Guests arrive early and pack into the kiln room for the 11am unloading. As the pieces emerge from the kiln, they often go straight from the potter’s hands to their new owner’s.

Read a 2018 article in Foothills Magazine about the kiln openings.