This week I was able interview the very talented artist Porter Halyburton who has recently started displaying his work in The Shop at Greenhill. Porter's work seems to exude a playful happiness that is speckled with colorful outbursts and held together with bold, rustic textures. Each of his works holds true to the title of "statement piece" and leaves you with a smile each time you cross its path.
Toni: I heard you became interested in making ceramics later in life; tell me about when clay became a part of your world and what inspired you to work with that medium.
Porter: Actually I did take a pottery class in Atlanta about 40 years ago, but didn't get another opportunity until I moved to Greensboro eight years ago. In between I worked in many mediums, but never stuck with any one long enough to be really good. So, when I returned to clay, I was determined to become a professional and really explore the many different things you can do with clay.
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Toni: Is there anything you do to trigger creativity, e.g. listening to music, flipping through art magazines, etc.?
Porter: I am always inspired by being around other potters, seeing their work and imagining new ways of applying techniques to my own work. I also read the many clay magazines and watch videos of other potters.
Toni: The work environment of an artist has always been fascinating to me. Where do you create your pieces and which is more important to you: the function or the feel of a workspace?
Porter: I create some hand-built pieces at home, although I do not have a real studio there. Most of my work is done at the Art Alliance studio in the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center. I recently did an eight-week concentration at Penland School of Crafts with Cynthia Bringle and I made a lot of work there. Certainly the environment in which I work is very important to the creative process.
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Toni: What is your creative process and what types of materials do you use?
Porter: Most often I know what I want to make and how I will make it before I start. Sometimes, I just put clay on the wheel or roll out a slab and see what happens as I go along. I tend to use a lot of stamps, texture tools, sprigs and brushes for decoration; sometimes I find a kitchen tool or found object that is interesting as well.
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Toni: Not only are you an artist at Greenhill, but also a member. How has Greenhill impacted you as an artist and a lover of art? Do you have a favorite exhibition?
Porter: As a member of Greenhill, I have seen so many wonderful shows over the years that it is hard to pick out a favorite, although the recent Daniel Johnston show was most impressive with its amazing display.
For more from Toni and the happenings in The Shop, follow us on Instagram @Greenhillnc and look out for #TonisPick.