This superb incised vase was created by eminent North Carolina potter Rodney Henderson Leftwich (1946-). After collecting and studying western North Carolina pottery, he opened Leftwich Pottery in Asheville, NC, in 1978, using glazes made with the local techniques originating in the 1800's. In 1992, his studio was relocated to Mills River, south of Asheville, with the name Leftwich Folk and Art Pottery.
In 2006, Rodney wrote the book titled "Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen" and has also written many articles and catalogs for exhibitions. His own pottery is avidly collected and is in the permanent collection of the Mint Museum, among other public and private collections. His Leftwich Pottery website has examples of his works, but does not sell his pottery online.
This gorgeous vase features flowering Jack-in-the-pulpit plants, native throughout North Carolina. They're intricately incised in the clay and accented with black glaze, highlighting Rodney's interest in and talent for drawing. While the artwork is set against the unglazed pale beige clay, the rest of the vase is glazed in a mottled and dripped mixture of blues and browns. The interior is glazed in a semi-matte deep blue.
The dry bottom shows three spur marks and is inscribed "Leftwich Folk and Art Pottery Horse Shoe, NC 2002" (according to the Marks Project website, Leftwich pottery is variously marked with Asheville, Horse Shoe or Mills River, NC.) The vase still retains its original tag, tied around the neck with a piece of twine, that displays an outline of a mule, stamped in black, with the words inside stating "LEFTWICH POTTERY HAND CRAFTED APPALACHIAN STYLE." The image of the mule is a nod to early pottery makers who used the family mule to drive the pug mill that mixed the clay.
The urn shape of this vase is graceful and beautifully formed. It stands 11 1/2 inches tall and measures about 7 inches across the shoulder with a 20 inch circumference. Across the rolled lip is 3 3/4 inches. It weighs nearly 3 1/2 pounds and is in excellent condition. As you can see from our photographs, this Leftwich Pottery vase displays handsomely.