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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Potters & Pickers

Posted May 31, 2006

When I visited them for the first time recently it felt like a homecoming of dear friends or family. Bet and Rob Mangum are two of the neatest people I have ever met. They live in a magical place called Turkey Knob in Alleghany County. Bet and Rob are widely recognized as two of the top potters in North Carolina, a state rich in clay and creativity. My wife Cindy purchased several prized pieces of their pottery three or four years ago. I recently enjoyed another dimension of the Mangums' talent. They play guitar and banjo and sing extremely well. One of the best ways to see their personalities sparkle is to request a song or two. They will eagerly drop what they're doing and launch into a bluegrass or folk tune. For more than 25 years Rob and Bet have been creating and producing hand crafted pottery and ceramic sculpture near Sparta. Their studio is located on 90 acres of rolling pasture and forested hillside and includes an incredible view of the mountains. The Mangums have an open house coming up soon. Check out their website at: http://www.mangumpottery.com/ Their son is also a potter and has a studio in the mountains near Asheville. If you thought all of the finest potters worked in the Seagrove area, think again! Be sure to ask about their historic log cabin. The studio at Turkey Knob is open for visitors from April through December. Their hours vary, so please call: (336) 372-5291.
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