I feel fortunate that my husband Bob, and I live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains known as "The High Country" in Boone North Carolina located near The Catawba Valley area that is rich in pottery heritage.
I, Tena, operate Wenta Pottery out of my home studio. I have been working in clay since 1988. My first experience working in clay was from a potter named Ole Joe Clark in Franklin, NC. My beginning studies were with potter, Tom Marsh at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky. I have stayed active with the learning of new clay technics by pursuing various pottery workshops of interest over the years that have added to the development of my work.
I was exposed to the craft person’s way of life by having family members who were coppersmiths and furniture makers. This life experience has carried the love of handcrafting from childhood into my own art form as a potter. Being a functional potter, I create pieces that people can use in their daily life, special occasions and for entertaining.
For me, working in clay gives the opportunity to bring my awareness back to nature. My awareness that the clay materials used have been formed by nature, then removed from the earth and reworked by the human hand, gives me the appreciation that each pot I make is a collaborative piece, crafted both by the human hand and nature. I work in stoneware clay and focus on a wide variety of functional forms. My pots are hand-built, wheel-thrown, or a combination of the two. Most forms are gently altered creating unique shapes, one piece at a time.
When creating new pieces, I have a basic form in mind which evolves along the way. It is exciting to observe the process and challenge that comes from pushing the clay in the directions of its limit. As the clay is worked, the piece establishes its own shape, which becomes slightly different from the original idea, making each pot truly one of a kind.
The pottery pieces are fired in an electric kiln around 2000 degrees.
The accent glaze I formulate is called Weathered Copper, an aged patina green color. The weathered copper glaze is applied over complementing shades of blue glaze. The two glazes interact with one another creating movement of the glaze down the pot. This glazing process establishes different characteristic to each piece. My glazing technique creates a reduction appearance as if it was fired in a gas kiln at a higher temperature.