Eoline Killough, 58, of Hamlet, makes functional pottery with a touch of what is in her own backyard.
“You have to use your own background,” Killough said as she explained how she incorporates pine cones, camellias, and her favorite, dogwood in her pottery; majolica glazed earthenware.
“Majolica is a glazing tradition that started in Iran, then spread over Italy and Portugal,” Killough said. She uses pale yellow, green, black, purple and white.
Killough makes different pottery depending on the season.
“I always make bowls, mugs and plates,” Killough said. “For the winter I make things more for baking, or table arrangements, and things like flower containers for the spring.”
Killough has learned a lot from Neolia Cole, a ninth-generation potter from Sanford.
“I really started making pots and have stuck with it because of her. She said the best way to sell pottery is right out of the shop.”
She said customers like to come see where the pottery is made, and “are big on hearing the story of where the form came from — the inspiration.”
According to Killough, North Carolina is the only state in the country with unbroken traditions of colonial pottery. Although Killough has lived and practiced pottery in several places, including England, she has stayed true to firing red North Carolina clay. Killough was a Fine Arts major at UNC Chapel Hill, and went on to get a degree in Ceramic Art from Keene State College in New Hampshire, where she lived for 12 years. She did post-graduate work at the West Surrey College of Art and Design in Farnham, UK as well as residencies at the Campbell Folk School and others.
Killough’s family history is full of Richmond County residents who practiced traditional methods of making things like quilts, furniture and brooms by hand. They lived on a farm on East Washington Street Extension. She can recall a downtown Hamlet where people would come in their mule wagons.
“Hamlet had one of the highest per capita incomes in N.C. because of the railroad industry,” Killough said. Her father’s father ran away when he was 16 to work for the railroad.
“If you throw a rock in Richmond County, you’ll hit some of my kin,” Killough said.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15, or by e-mail at email@example.com.