Arnold to show ceramics in Albemarle Sound Studio Tour

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Mark Arnold is one of five local potters who will be participating in the Albemarle Sound Studio Tour 2019 on May 18-19.


By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, May 11, 2019

For much of his youth, Mark Arnold used to travel the country competing in BMX racing events.

But then in his late 20s, the Pittsburgh, Pa., native said he decided he needed a change.

“I needed to figure out what was next,” he said.

Arnold said he went back to school, and it was there he not only met his future wife, Caitlin McDonald, he also figured out “what was next.”

Caitlin introduced Arnold to her father, who is a potter. Arnold says he became so interested in pottery making that he decided to create his own ceramics.

He says he made his first piece — a cup — a decade ago, and the process of making ceramics just “felt natural” to him.

Arnold earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and his master’s degree in fine arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Arnold and Caitlin moved to North Carolina when they both participated in a residency with the Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft in Columbia. The couple moved to Elizabeth City last July, after Caitlin accepted a job at the Northeastern Academy of Aviation and Advanced Technologies.

Arnold now spends more than 10 hours a day in his home studio, creating ceramics that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. He also teaches ceramics classes once a month, sharing his techniques not just regionally but in places like San Francisco and Austin, Texas.

Arnold uses dark brown clay in his designs and incorporates the terra sigillata technique inspired by ancient pottery. Arnold said his own works are inspired by the trains, bridges and steel mills he saw while growing up in Pittsburgh.

“I electric-fire everything,” he said.

Arnold said his ceramics are functional and can be used in the microwave and dishwasher.

His signature on his pieces is a stamp that is altered each time he moves. Since his studio in Elizabeth City is his first home studio, his stamp includes his initials and a house.

Arnold is one of five local potters who will be participating in the first Albemarle Sound Studio Tour next weekend. The other potters taking part in the tour Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19, are John Peel, Frank Miglorie, Christine Henninger and Dick Heiser.

The tour, which will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, is free and open to the public. Tour-goers will have a chance to visit each potter’s studio, ask questions and purchase their work. Also on the tour are Arts of the Albemarle, the Perquimans Arts League, the Chowan Arts Council and the Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft.

Arnold’s studio is located at 1410 Horner Street in Elizabeth City. For a list of all locations on the tour, visit https://m.facebook.com/events/407440020031702.

For more information about Arnold’s work and classes, visit http://www.markarnoldceramics.com.