Daniel Johnston with his large pots in process. ©Daniel Johnston
"Greenhill announces the 2015 Spring exhibition, Daniel Johnston | Hiroshi Sueyoshi: Sculptural Clay, on display May 1 – June 10, 2015. The exhibition brings together two ceramic artists who come from different parts of the state: Daniel Johnston from Seagrove and Hiroshi Sueyoshi from Wilmington. Johnston and Sueyoshi are nationally recognized ceramic artists with distinctive styles.

In Daniel Johnston │ Hiroshi Sueyoshi: Sculptural Clay “visitors will see remarkable examples of wood-fired, wheel-thrown stoneware and hand-built porcelain and clay by nationally recognized ceramic” explains Edie Carpenter, Director, Curatorial and Artistic Programs at Greenhill. Working in distinctive styles, Johnston and Sueyoshi are combining clay traditions from East and West to create works that reference the vessel as a functional object, but are ultimately representational or sculptural forms.

Johnstons’ monumental jars are created from hand-dug local North Carolina clay and ash glazes evoke the tradition and history of the storage vessel. He is one of the newest “large-pot” ceramicists living in the Seagrove clay community to come to the national forefront and will present a site-specific installation for thirty large jars designed for Greenhill’s space. Johnston explains, “Visitors will enter a 60-foot long tunnel to view my jars.  They will experience light playing through the tunnel’s interior and perceive the monumental jars aligned in a series reflecting their production on the wheel. The architecture of the structure is built from the same wood that feeds the crucible where the pots were created— and evokes the design of the groundhog kiln of the American South. At the end of the corridor one last jar, I select, and will be displayed on a pedestal in a seamless cube, resembling a modern gallery space.”

In a separate part of The Gallery at Greenhill, works never before seen of Sueyoshi’s will be on display including his clay “stones”, which are handmade versions of the stones of the “dry landscapes” of 14th century Japan.  Sueyoshi, who has worked as artist in residence at Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington’s Pancoe Education Center for the past nine years, will present a condensed version of his recent retrospective exhibition there, “Matter of Reverence”,  covering four decades of his production in hand-built porcelain and clay.  The bowl or vessel is reiterated in many different ways by Sueyoshi in works that suggest architectural structures or plant forms, often combining textured exterior walls with smooth interior surfaces washed in saturated colorful glaze.  In an interview in The Living Tradition, North Carolina Artists Speak Sueyoshi states that for the most part his forms always “leave something open so you can see inside” (2009, The NC Pottery Center, p. 165) leaving a visible reference to the vessel. 

The exhibition opens to the public on Friday, May 1, 2015 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.  The first hour is time reserved for Greenhill members and sponsors to engage with the artists and curator.  Starting at 6:30, the public is welcome to join.  Free and open to the public. For more information on becoming a member of Greenhill, visit


Artist Talk: Wednesday, May 20 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Daniel Johnston and Hiroshi Sueyoshi will each speak for 45 minutes and answer questions about their works.  Free and open to the public.  Refreshments

First Friday, June 5 from 6:00  - 9:00 PM
Join us for First Friday and live music by the Diego Hillbillies from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Diego Hillbillies, an Americana band, play a mixture of tunes from many genres played like only hillbillies can! The band features William Hicks on mandolin, Charlie Murphy on bass, and Frank Fratoni on guitar and vocals. First Friday free and open to the public. Cash Bar. 

Adult Workshop | Clay Rattles: Make a Joyful Noise, May 7 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm or 6:00 – 9:00pm
Lynn Sanders-Bustle, Ph. D, Director of Programs at Greenhill, will be instructing this adult workshop. Lynn will share her experiences working with clay and other three-dimensional processes and will present a brief history of clay rattles. Participants will tour The Gallery and learn hand-building techniques and strategies which will be used by participants to create a one-of-a kind rattle. Lynn fondly remembers where her fascination with clay began, Lynn has taught ceramics and other three-dimensional processes to others. Sign up online at


Daniel Johnston’s 2010 “Large Jar” project utilized Thai techniques to produce one hundred large 34-40 gallon pots in as many days. The physical experience of forming the hundreds of pounds of clay used in the project took on a heroic dimension comparable to descriptions of Abstract Expressionist painters’ battles with their paint.  Johnston has been recognized by invitations to speak at the Smithsonian Institute’s Freer Gallery and the acquisition of major works by the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte.  

A native of Japan, Hiroshi Sueyoshi studied at Tokyo Aeronautical College and served as apprentice to potter Masanao Narui in Mashiko before coming to North Carolina in 1971 to help design and build Humble Mill Pottery in Asheboro where he has worked for more than four decades. On his Eastern heritage Hiroshi has stated:  “Some people say, ‘Oh, your work is very Japanese influenced.’ And sometimes Japanese friends come here and see my pots and say, ‘Very much westernized.’”  (The Living Tradition, p. 161)  In recent years Sueyoshi has looked more closely at his Japanese heritage and his retrospective exhibition included two installations reflecting a restrained Zen esthetic:  "Empty Bowls" a meditation on the Japanese tea ceremony, presented 68 stoneware soup bowls, each marking a year of Sueyoshi's life.  "Rock Garden," featured stoneware "rocks" some resembling natural forms and others figures of the imagination, arranged in a configuration resembling a Japanese Zen garden. Hiroshi Sueyoshi’s works have been exhibited nationally in private, corporate and institutional collections, including the Renwick Gallery in the National Museum of American Art. In 2006 he was honored with the North Carolina Living Treasure award. "

- A Press Release

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