Cynthia Bringle

The arts have been calling me since I was a child growing up in Memphis, TN. I took my first painting class when I was a teenager and could have made my first sale at age 14. I turned it down because I wanted to keep it. Certain I was destined to be a painter, I enrolled in the Memphis Academy of Art. A required class in clay and a chance to throw at the kickwheel, however, caused me to reconsider. The next year, after a few more classes, everyone knew if you wanted to find me, the clay studio was where I’d be. To immerse myself even more, I spent my summers in the early 60s, taking classes at the well-respected Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. After graduating with my BFA from the Memphis Academy, I moved to New York to earn my Masters in Art from Alfred University. With my degree in hand, I moved back to Tennessee to open my first studio. After several summers spent teaching at the Penland School of Craft, I realized the North Carolina mountains were calling me. Although there were only a few studios in existence at the time, I had a sense it would become a community of artists. I have been living in the Penland Community since 1970. I feel honored to be recognized as the unofficial Mayor of Penland. My work continues to be primarily wheel thrown. I suspect there will never come a day when I’m not fascinated by how each piece takes shape. The same holds true for the excitement I feel opening the gas or wood kiln after a firing. There’s simply no detail about the process, whether trimming, altering or glazing, that I don’t enjoy. I know I am privileged to live in this magical place where I am constantly inspired by nature’s wonders as well as so many amazing potters who either live nearby or take classes here. The years have passed quickly, but the one thing that never changes or diminishes is my joy of transforming an ordinary lump of clay into  beautiful, functional objects that enrich my customers’ everyday experiences. The studio is always open. If you want to learn more, come on over for a visit. You’ll find me at the wheel, happy to share my experiences.