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Girl Parts - Opens August 23rd 5pm - 8pm!
Cynthia Bringle

Cynthia Bringle

Cynthia Bringle is one of America's pre-eminent potters and a legendary teacher whose sphere of influence stretches around the globe. Bringle's work represents more than forty years of functional stoneware. Her forms may have changed over the years, but her philosophy of what makes a pot a pot remains steadfast: She has been a role model for many aspiring ceramists, influencing the professional careers of countless American and international students. Her former students, many of whom have gone on to become noted potters themselves, describe Bringle's work at the wheel as "making the clay sing in a rhythm that is a dance between her hands and the clay."

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Cynthia Bringle Artist Bio

Cynthia Bringle (b. 1939, Memphis, Tennessee) is a ceramic artist, who lives and works in Penland, North Carolina. Although she is most well known for her ceramics, she is also a painter and printmaker. She earned a BFA from Memphis Academy of Art and an MFA from Alfred University. She runs a gallery in Penland with her twin sister, where she sells her pottery. She has taught many workshops nationwide and at Penland School of Crafts for many years. She is a fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the North Carolina Award for Fine Art. Her work is in the collection of the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Burlington Art Centre, and the High Museum of Art. She is explorer, inspiration, and artist extraordinaire. Cynthia Bringle is one of America's pre-eminent potters and a legendary teacher whose sphere of influence stretches around the globe. For the forms she creates and the lives she shapes, Cynthia Bringle receives the 2002 North Carolina Award for Fine Arts.

Born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, Bringle is considered one of the foremost icons of clay in modern time. As a young girl, she studied painting at the Memphis Academy of Arts, switching to pottery early in her studies. After completing her undergraduate work, she earned a master's degree at Alfred University in New York, a school widely known for its excellence in ceramics.

Since then, she has forged an international reputation as potter and teacher. In the Mitchell County community of Penland, where she has lived, worked and inspired since 1970, she carries the honorary title of Mayor. Her imprint on Penland School, her lasting impact on the national, regional and North Carolina craft movement, and her influence on the lives of generations of students have been steady, deep and unassuming.

What Cynthia Bringle has accomplished is remarkable. She became a potter when ceramics was not a career for many, especially not for a woman. She was blazing paths even before the era of the women's movement. In her twenties, she ignored stereotypes and charged white-gloved women's social groups $100 a day to talk about clay, recognizing that she had to place a value on her time before anyone would take her work seriously.

In the gallery she now shares in Penland with her twin sister Edwina, Bringle's work represents more than forty years of functional stoneware. Her forms may have changed over the years, but her philosophy of what makes a pot a pot remains steadfast: "What is a pot/a pot is not/just any gray bowl/a pot is a mood/of many hues/but most of all/a pot is to use."

She has been a role model for many aspiring ceramists, influencing the professional careers of countless American and international students. Her former students, many of whom have gone on to become noted potters themselves, describe Bringle's work at the wheel as "making the clay sing in a rhythm that is a dance between her hands and the clay."

Her accolades are many. In 2000, Bringle became a fellow of the American Craft Council and last year was awarded a Life Membership in the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Bringle's works are currently part of the Ceramic National 2000 tour that is being featured at museums across the country over a two-year period. The list of selected invitational and juried shows where her work has been shown is extensive and far-reaching: Brazil, Japan, Italy, and throughout the United States.

In 1999, "Cynthia Bringle: A Fiery Influence," a retrospective look at three decades in clay, was the largest exhibition project ever undertaken by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Bringle's pottery also is part of private and public collections around the world, including the White House, the Mint Museum of Craft & Design, the State of North Carolina, and the Smithsonian International traveling exhibition.

Cynthia Bringle continues to live and teach in Penland.

 

Cynthia Bringle Artist Statement

Having painted in my early days, I went to the Memphis Academy of Art to continue. After taking several pottery classes I changed my major.

After a couple of summers at Haystack School of Crafts in Maine and graduate school at NY State College of Ceramics in Alfred, NY, I set up my studio. From 1965-1970, I was in Eads, TN and in 1970 I moved to Penland, NC.

Being a full time artist is my passion and pleasure. I hope yours is in the use.