269 Oak Avenue  Spruce Pine  NC  28777
10:30AM to 5:00PM Tuesday – Saturday



Cynthia Bringle


reception : Saturday, July 28, 5 to 7 pm

“What means the most to me is that I can still make pots.”

Bringle started out studying painting, always wanted to paint. Until, during her second semester at Memphis Academy of Art, she wrapped her hands around a ball of clay. The class was required for all first-year students. She continued painting but from that semester until today let clay dictate her passion. “Painting has a lot of similarities to my pots. Brush strokes are everywhere. Working in clay is very much akin to painting only three dimensional; plate as canvas.”

In 1963, Bringle came to Penland School of Crafts and for a few weeks during the summer, helped then executive director, Bill Brown and Ed Brinkman haul firebricks for the first gas kiln at the school. “We got so dirty moving those bricks, they wouldn’t even let us into the cafeteria. They brought out our lunches to us.” She finished up her undergraduate work at Memphis and graduate work at Alfred University, and in 1970 moved to Penland. “My studio was an open shed with a wheel and kiln.” For the next four years she worked in the Penland Barns as a resident artist, moving after her own studio was completed on school property.


These days, when Cynthia’s not in the studio, she’s either taking classes, teaching, walking with 10-year old, best friend, rescue dog Margie, or just enjoying her place in the mountains. And her exhibit pieces will reflect those times with pottery, clay, and jewelry—“beads are just a fun thing to do.”  She brought out a beautifully crafted deep blue and red laced shoes. “I did these in one class.” Then pointing to a rich, honey colored cherry wood chair in the corner, smoothed by years of sitting, “and this in another. I take a painting class because it gives me the time to paint, which I don’t usually have, and I like new things.” And everyone who knows Bringle’s work, sees that it is anything but repetitive.

Bringle’s exhibit pieces run the gamut from years-old pieces—“I have a closet downstairs that holds many other things”—to new work. And paintings. Cynthia has never stopped painting. The exhibit is not a retrospective of her life’s work but reflects what she has done, what she is doing, and what she might be considering in the future. Clay + will celebrate her life from yesterday when she picked up a brush in her early teens in Tennessee to tomorrow when she throws another pot…this one with a wee turtle climbing up the side. “I love turtles.”

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