ECA Profiles: Pottery on the Hill 2016

By Phil Hutinet on October 24, 2016
Image Courtesy Hill Center.
Image Courtesy Hill Center.

Now in its sixth year, Pottery on the Hill convenes some of nation’s most esteemed ceramicists who travel far and wide to showcase and sell their work at Hill Center.  This prestigious invitational assembles artists who lead their field in both innovation and technique, setting the standard for contemporary American pottery. What also differentiates Pottery on the Hill from run-of-the-mill regional craft shows is its art-fair style atmosphere making it one of North America’s most unique fine art experiences.

This year’s list of participants include Mary Barringer (Shelburne Falls, MA), Bob Briscoe (Harris, MN), Bulldog Pottery-Bruce Gholson & Samantha Henneke (Seagrove, NC), Kyle Carpenter (Asheville, NC), Trista Depp Chapman (Fredericksburg, VA), Naomi Dalglish (Bakersville, NC), Dan Finnegan (Fredericksburg, VA), Ryan Greenheck (Philadelphia, PA), Rick Hensley (Floyd, VA), Michael Hunt (Bakersville, NC), Matthew Hyleck (Baltimore, MD), Matthew Metz (Alfred Station, NY), Ronan Peterson (Chapel Hill, NC), Donna Polseno (Floyd, VA), Stacy Snyder (Arlington, VA) and Catherine White (Warrenton, VA).

Ronan Peterson at the wheel. Image Courtesy Hill Center.
Ronan Peterson at the wheel. Image Courtesy Hill Center.

In 2016, Pottery on the Hill welcomes newcomers Mary Barringer (Shelburne Falls, MA), Kyle Carpenter (Asheville, NC), Rick Hensley (Floyd, VA), and Ronan Peterson (Chapel Hill, NC and pictured above).

Audiences will find a wide array of mostly functional pottery in a variety of styles, shapes and uses.  Each piece of earthenware is one-of-a-kind and carefully handcrafted by the artist. This annual showcase affords DC area residents the opportunity to acquire high-quality ceramics—many at very reasonable prices—which they can enjoy and utilize daily.

In addition to showing his own work, artist Dan Finnegan has organized and curated every exhibition since 2011. Finnegan explains that “All potters are invited are to make useful pots. That’s always been the emphasis for me. When I designed the show, we invited people who were making useful things. Most of us share this passion for making pots for people’s homes. ‘Pots for use’ is the theme of the show!”


In a globalized world where manufactured goods differ little from one continent to the next or from one chain-retailer to the next, Pottery on the Hill provides a connection to the handmade and the carefully crafted.  One can sustain this connection daily by sipping coffee from a handmade mug or eating from a plate spun by an artist you have met at Hill Center.

This year’s edition of Pottery on the Hill goes one step further—Pottery on Wheels, or POW!, will roll into Hill Center’s Plaza giving audiences the opportunity to get their hands dirty by learning how to work with clay. POW!’s “Make a Cup, Take a Cup” program shows participants of all ages how to make a cup using clay, use a potter’s wheel, decorate the cup with glaze, and then get it ready for kiln-firing. After completing these steps, the participant leaves the cup behind and takes a cup that another person made at an earlier event.

Image Courtesy Hill Center.
Image Courtesy Hill Center.

Sam Taylor and several other renowned potters will guide students through this process. “Come and make pottery with us, make a cup, throw a cup, decorate a cup and then trade the cup for one of the hundreds of finished and fired cups on display. We call it ‘Make a Cup, Take a Cup,’” says Taylor. “We hope we will have given away or traded close to 1000 cups by the time we leave DC!”

In addition, a free beer sampler made by one of the potters will be available to the first 100 people who attend the Friday, October 28 preview reception which is a ticketed event. On Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30, Pottery on the Hill is free and open to the public.


Schedule of Events

Preview Reception
Friday, October 28, 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30/advance, $35/day of. Available at

Free Show & Sale + Pottery on Wheels! Truck
Saturday, October 29: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, October 30: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Hill Center is located in the historic Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, just one block from the Eastern Market metro.  Visit them online at or