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Ackland Museum Store hosts garden-themed pottery exhibit

The Ackland Museum Store will bring the great outdoors inside in its new garden-themed pottery show opening Friday.

“In My Garden: The Pottery of Marsha Owen” will feature works created by local potter Owen and her husband Rick Moss.

Alice Southwick, the store’s manager, said the staff was looking for a fun summer and outdoor theme for this gallery show, which follows its steampunk show from earlier this summer, and Owen’s work was the perfect fit.

“Her work has a real grace and beauty to it that I equate to being in a garden,” Southwick said.

“At least for me it’s a very peaceful experience — you don’t go into a garden to get jazzed up. And I think that her work really works for that.”

This is the second time the museum store has put together a pottery show, with the first one at the end of last summer.

The exhibit will feature a variety of double-walled flower pots with innovative designs, decorative stones, bird baths and a few potted plants, among other works Owen created. Though these items will be on display in the exhibit, all of the gallery items will also be for sale at the store.

Melinda Rittenhouse, the store’s assistant manager, said having some of the potted plants on display will hopefully inspire viewers.

“We’re hopeful that people will really enjoy all of her work and will see all of the possibilities of how (the works) can feed into their own environments,” she said.

“It can definitely be outdoors, or it can be to bring the outdoors in.”

Owen said she’s been working on the idea of making works for plants for about a year now.

“I make work that’s utilitarian, and you always hope that your work is going to be not only beautiful, but very useful as well,” she said.

“You can go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to get mass-produced stuff, but these are all handmade, and hopefully that will come across — they’re one-of-a-kind and well-designed and beautiful.”

The museum store has been selling Owen’s items for a few years now, and Southwick said she is excited to finally be putting together a show.

She also said she hopes everyone who comes to see the gallery show will appreciate the craftsmanship put into these garden-themed works.

“North Carolina is so well-known for its pottery, and Marsha’s a wonderful piece of that part,” Southwick said.

“(She’s) a teacher, a collaborator, a partner, and that’s the kind of artist that you like to celebrate.”

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