Jun 30, 2023
Enter the fantasy world of Paul Haigh, a chemist turned potter, who creates weird stuff for weird people. His work is a blend of his fascination with horror, mythology, science fiction, and games like Dungeons and Dragons. Ultimately, Paul sees his work as an escape from the real world.
Paul is known for his face jugs, which are wheel-turned jugs with faces stuck on them. Traditionally, the faces are abstract or even cartoonish, but Paul enjoys making his look realistic. Originally face jugs were made by enslaved people in the American South. There are many theories on the original purposes of face jugs, ranging from religious practices to grave markers. It is common for the expressions and features on face jugs to be scary. The creepy faces may have been designed to scare off evil spirits or to keep children from consuming booze stored inside. This type of pottery fell out of favor in the 1920s but was later revitalized by potters to sell to tourists.
Sculpting realistic human faces is a challenge. Our brains are specialized in recognizing human faces and we can easily spot mistakes. It took years of practice for Paul to be satisfied with his work. There’s a lot of broken pottery from when he was still learning.
Paul enjoys interacting with collectors at art shows. He loves that a significant portion of his collectors are women over 60. With their wisdom and confidence, they no longer care what others think of them and they collect what they want.
Paul lives in central North Carolina, near Seagrove, the pottery capital of the United States. Highway 705, which runs through the region, is nicknamed the Pottery Highway. Paul was a potter prior to moving to NC from New Hampshire. One of the highlights of creating pottery in NH was his wood firing kiln, made from 30,000 pounds of brick with a 15-foot chimney.
Carolina Pottery Festival (Shelby, NC in November): http://www.ccartscouncil.org/carolinapottery/
Holly Arts Festival (Pinehurst, NC in October): https://www.homeofgolf.com/events/
League of NH Craftsmen Fair (Concord, NH in August): https://nhcrafts.org/annual-craftsmens-fair/
Ryan “Humanburger” Jones: https://ryanjonesartwork.bigcartel.com/
RVA Krampus (Richmond, VA in December): http://www.rvakrampus.com/
Star Works NC: https://www.starworksnc.org/
Check out Paul’s work at: