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Black Mountain and Asheville

Blue Ridge Campus
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  (27)  Pot Shop

Sculpture room and shed addition
Robert Turner, assisted by Paul Williams

Summer 1953
David Weinrib and Karen Karnes
Jack Rice


Photographs, Paul Leser. Courtesy Mary Emma Harris Papers

Josef Albers had resisted inclusion of a ceramics program at Black Mountain, reasoning that clay was too malleable and easily manipulated for beginning students. He felt they needed materials that offered greater resistance.

When Albers left in the spring of 1949, the college invited Robert Turner, a student at Alfred University, to come to the college to set up a one-person pottery. Turner accepted the appointment as Instructor in Ceramics, beginning on the fall of 1949. He designed and, with the assistance of students, constructed a pot shop which was located in a field between the Studies Building and Lake Eden Road.

Turner remained at the college for two years, leaving in 1951 to set up his own pottery in Alfred, New York. In 1952, Karen Karnes and David Weinrib, also former Alfred students, came to work at the pottery. They remained for two years, leaving in 1954 to join the Gatehill Cooperative Community (“the Land”), a community of former Black Mountain faculty and students located near Stony Point, New York.

In 1953 the pottery, designed for one person, was expanded to include a sculpture studio, a salt kiln, and an open shed. The addition was designed by David Weinrib and Karen Karnes and constructed by Jack Rice, a former student who was at the college to director the work program and maintenance.

Pot Shop showing addition of sculpture studio and open shed, with Karen Karnes and David Weinrib.
Photograph: North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Research Project. Photographer, Edward Dupuy.

2007:  The Pot Shop was demolished by Camp Rockmont.


The Black Mountain College Project gratefully acknowledges a grant from the Graham Foundation
for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for a study of architecture at Black Mountain College.