Observer News Enterprise

HMA collaborat­es with Catawba County Schools to engage children in local art history


Debra Zimmerman, local potter and instructor at Western Piedmont Community College, has been a member of the Hickory Museum of Art for several years. Zimmerman was selected this year to go to Oxford Elementary School in Claremont to talk about her craft, local art history, and the Folk Arts Festival.

“To me, it’s pretty amazing because when I was working with the kids at Hart Square, they were so excited to learn about pottery. I think I’ve always liked pottery, and I never got to do it until I moved here. It’s so important that the kids be focused on something that is not electronic and is creative.You never know what you’re going to be sparking in a child. There are so many people that collect pottery, especially around here,” shared Zimmerman.

Zimmerman taught the class how to make little “pinch pots.” Pinch pots are a simple design of handmade pottery, whose origins are ancient. Zimmerman discussed that overall there are three traditions of pottery that most who are involved in the craft use, one being Catawba Valley Pottery. This tradition, she said, originates with the Catawba Indians going out to collect the abundant clay, and women of the community would make coils or pinch the clay. Then, they would fire them. This occurred in the expanse between Rock Hill and the Catawba River.

“It’s so common in this area. And it’s so common I think you could overlook it. For kids to have the opportunit­y to create something like that is amazing; it’s tangible. There are so many people over the years that tell me, ‘I still have that piece of pottery my son built.’ I think it’s because it’s made by hand and there’s love there. Even the wonkiest pieces are so unique,” stated Zimmerman.

Zimmerman has been doing pottery for about 10 years, and is also a mosaic artist. She has a studio at home with 3 kilns. Zimmerman and her husband hold a “porch sale” twice a year, and have for the past 6-7 years. They sell handmade pottery and jams and jellies. This sale has become famous in their local community.

Zimmerman’s work can be found in the HMA gift shop. She will also have a booth at the Foothills Folk Art Festival in Downtown Newton on May 14th from 10am-4pm.

The Foothills Folk Art Festival is hosted by the Hickory Museum of Art. It was supposed to occur last October; however, due to a spike in the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to postpone. It is usually held the 1st Saturday of October in Downtown Newton. There will be live music, food vendors, and many artists.

For more informatio­n, please visit http://www.foothillsf­olkartfest­


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States