Heiser crafts 'whimsical' ceramics, stoneware pieces in Edenton

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Richard Heiser and his wife, Marilyn, own Edenton Bay Clayworks in Edenton, where Heiser creates porcelain ceramics and stoneware that integrate both technique and design.


BY Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Richard Heiser fondly recalls his first experiences as an artist: He was sitting in his yard at age 4 and a half, molding red clay.

“I have been around art my whole life,” said Heiser, who’s originally from Raleigh and whose parents were both artists.

Heiser, who earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in ceramics from Western Carolina University and a master’s degree in fine arts in ceramics from East Carolina University, moved to Edenton with wife, Marilyn, a year ago after living in Wilmington.

The couple own Edenton Bay Clayworks, where Heiser creates porcelain ceramics and stoneware that integrate both technique and design.

The couple live in the upstairs of their home on South Oakum Street while maintaining a studio downstairs. In a separate structure beside their house, Heiser constructed a gas-fired kiln.

“With a gas-fired kiln I can get different textures and colors by altering the atmosphere of the kiln,” he said.

Heiser said he mixes all of his own glazes for his ceramics, adding that he’s “constantly testing” and finding new vibrant colors to use.

“There is a whole science behind glazes,” he said.

Heiser describes his work as “whimsical.” It includes stoneware featuring cats that he refers to as Cat’chall and mugs with pirate faces.

“It is fun to make with its own personality,” Heiser said.

Mixing bowls, casserole dishes, and pots are just a few examples of his work, which he says are functional.

“You can drink out of it, eat out of it or put it on a shelf,” Heiser said.

Heiser also makes customized urns for both people and pets.

In addition to his ceramics, Heiser paints and sculpts.

“I do a lot of combination work,” said Heiser. “It is not just one process.”

“I make things by hand, sculpted by hand,” he continued. “I do a lot of wheel throwing.”

Even the middle of his projects, Heiser said he’s always focused on “what I am going to do next.”

Heiser’s works are available at Arts of the Albemarle, the Chowan Arts Council and Muddy Waters Coffeehouse.

Heiser is also a member of the Albemarle Craftsman’s Guild and participated in his first Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair two weeks ago.

He’a also an adjunct instructor of ceramics at College of The Albemarle, where he says he enjoys sharing his knowledge of art with his students. He also is an instructor of ceramics at the Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft in Columbia. 

For more information about Heiser’s work or Edenton Bay Clayworks, view his Facebook page at