The award-winning work of potter Jeff Diehl will be in the spotlight when the West Virginia Division of Culture and History opens a new exhibition on Friday, May 24, in the Balcony Gallery of the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, May 30, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The free reception and exhibition are open to the public. The show will remain on display through Aug. 18.
Diehl, of Lockbridge, Summers County, has had a lifelong fascination with pottery. His grandfather, who lived in New Jersey, and his great grandfather, who lived in Germany, were both potters. “I never really considered doing anything else but making pots,” he says.
The exhibition entitled Jeff Diehl: Funktional Pottery, will include more than 25 pieces of his most recent work. His pottery can be whimsical, as seen in “Tea to Go,” a rolling teapot, but it is also utilitarian. Diehl says, “Most of my pots are functional. I want them to be appealing to the hand, heart and eye. I strive for beauty in function.”
Diehl’s works have appeared frequently in juried shows, group invitationals and solo exhibits. In addition to local and regional venues, his pottery has been displayed at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.; “The Ceremony of Tea” exhibit at the Images Friedman Gallery in Louisville, Ky.; the “Functional Ceramics: 1973-1993” exhibit in Wooster, Ohio; and the “Pitcher” show in the Farrell Collection in Washington, D.C., among others. He has received several Best of Show awards at the Appalachian Arts and Craft Show in Beckley and a Merit Award from the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair in Ripley.
Diehl spent four years in the Berea College Ceramic Apprenticeship Program as a student apprentice under Walter Hyleck, and another year’s apprenticeship at Topferi Kuch with Wilhelm and Elly Kush in Burgthann, West Germany. The latter was only one hour from his great grandfather’s pottery. He also attended New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in the summer graduate program with Val Cushing and has attended the annual West Virginia Potter’s Gathering Workshop every year since 1981. In September 1980 he established Lockbridge Pottery, a functional stoneware studio.
For more information about Jeff Diehl: Funktional Pottery, contact Stephanie Lilly, exhibits coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 128.
Visitors are invited to view the exhibit and tour the West Virginia State Museum. The Cultural Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The Archives and History Library is closed on Sunday.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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