Johnston and Gentithes Art Pottery was founded in 1997 by Fred Johnston and Carol Gentithes. Fred learned to make pots in the Seagrove area in the 1980ís. Working odd jobs around the different potteries, Fred worked for Mark Hewitt, Ben Owen and Dover Pottery. This experience was the catalyst for Fredís commitment and passion to the pottery vernacular, which turned into an adventure and education. After attending Montgomery Community College, Fred left Seagrove in 1989 to attend the famed Alfred University where he met Carol Gentithes. They both received BFA degrees in ceramics. Fred was awarded a full scholarship to Penn State University where he received his MFA. In 1996 Carol and Fred were selected to be resident artists for a year at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee
Fredís origins in clay are rooted in the southern folk pottery traditions of North Carolina. Growing up in the rural south has given him access to its colorful history and characters, which serve as a wellspring of ideas. Storytelling is a regional pastime, consequently he questions how a pot can tell a story. Though his work draws from many cultures Greek, Korean, Chinese, Pre-Columbian, European and Mimbres, his shapes and decorations are bold, distinctive and imaginative. Fredís work is shown in renowned galleries and exhibitions including the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Museum in Philadelphia, PA, the Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville, NC, and the Lill Street Gallery in Chicago, IL. His work has been published in several books and periodicals.
Carol is best known for her quixotic sculptures. Handbuilt with coils, her often surreal sculptures are satirical and narrative. Abstracting from mythology, literature and lifeís observations, Carolís work is an embodiment of the complex nuances within nature and humankind. Her subject matter ranges anywhere from conceptual ideas to political commentaries. Materials are commercially bought and she works with a computerized kiln so that she can go home at a decent hour. She also exhibits her work in renowned galleries and is published in several books and periodicals.