Ron Howard / Chestnut Oak Forge, Inc.Inspired by old hardware around my family farm I built a small primitive shop and began my blacksmithing career about...
My work has almost always been in functional and decorative stoneware, with the occasional foray recently into Raku. Functionality has been the central theme of my work throughout my career. As such, I take great satisfaction in the relationships that I have established with my customers and friends who are using and experiencing my work on a daily basis. I feel we are vicariously sharing in each other's lives.
While still content with this idea, lately I've felt the urge to extend myself and my definition of "functionality" by creating more personal and sculpturally-oriented work. Over time, probably from teaching classes that include many clay processes, I have become more interested in slab constructions. My idea of "function" has come to include "does this piece enhance my life and the lives of the audience for my work, and/or the ultimate owners?" If it does, then it must "function" pretty well. This newer direction in my work has been fulfilling and has re-energized my functional production pieces as well. So, each nourishes the other.
While I will continue to make what is traditionally called "functional" ware, in the future I also will explore larger, more complex designs.
Bob Meier, owner and operator of Doe Ridge Pottery in Boone, NC began his career almost by accident. A transplant originally from Philadelphia, PA, Bob moved to Boone after his military service in 1973 to complete his education a Appalachian State University in Technical Education, with concentrations in graphic arts, drafting and technical illustration, and crafts. "My first semester, I took a class in pottery/ceramics mostly to fill a spot in my schedule. It was love at first sight."
While finishing his Bachelor and Masters degrees at A.S.U., Bob continued to extend his interest in clay by taking all the course work offered at A.S.U. including a course with Ron Probst. He also attended several local workshops, including one in business practices for craftspeople with Herb Cohen and Jose' Fumero. He worked during this period for two and a half years for potter Lucy Hamilton in Newland, NC.
Bob also became involved in the Hands Crafts Gallery in Boone, helping establish Hands as the Boone area's first cooperative gallery in 1975 as one of its charter members. He is a past member of Hands' Board of Directors and was president for four year-long terms.
Bob also became a member of Blue Ridge Hearthside Crafts in 1978, and a member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild in 1983. He established his own studio and gallery on King Street in Boone in 1988 after working in a home studio from 1978 to 1988. His gallery, working and teaching studio, have been maintained on King Street ever since.
Bob's work has been on exhibit at the Folk Art Center in Asheville and the Moses Cone Manor in Blowing Rock. He is represented by a number of fine galleries, including the Appalachian Craft Center in Asheville, the North Carolina Crafts Gallery in Carrboro, the Lynn Morrow Pottery in Pittsboro, the Jacob Fork Gallery in Hickory, and the Grovewood Gallery and New Morning Gallery in Asheville. He is sought after for his custom work, both functional, decorative, and architectural from individuals and designers.