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Eastern Alamance pottery students set sights on national competition

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Competition is the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — The ability to think outside the box is what pottery students at Eastern Alamance High School said makes a great artist. Eleventh Grader Ainsley Dial takes pride in her work.

“I got into pottery sophomore year, and I found it really cool that you could make sculptures out of clay and glazed pieces and stuff like that,” Dial said.

Her pottery recently earned gold on the state level in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Competition. It's the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.

"My piece was inspired by an artist named Johnson Tsang and he creates baby faces and so I wanted to create a piece with a baby face similar to his,” Dial said. “I chose to do an open head on it so it would be a functional piece. When people ask what the meaning of the piece is, it's open for interpretation because I don’t think art should have a specific meaning. Anyone can interpret it in any way they want and it can move anyone in any way they want.”

Dial’s work will now be considered for placement in the national competition. If she wins gold again, she will be invited to Carnegie Hall in New York. In addition to Dial, three Eastern Alamance students who won silver for their pottery work will be honored at a reception at the East Carolina School of Art and Design in February. These students are Kaitlyn Mason, Isabella Walters, and Valerie Byrd.

“I’m really proud of myself and I’m very surprised I could get a silver on my project,” Mason said.

“I really enjoy pottery because it kind of has like a functional level to art where it’s not just kind of 2D,” Walters said.

“I’ve always liked pottery, I’ve always been interested in it,” Byrd said. “I’ve done different kinds of art my whole life and in high school that was something different that was available and so I just kind of always wanted to do it”

Pottery Instructor Laura Daughtry said she couldn't be prouder of her students' work.

“I get as excited as they do when something works outs and when it doesn't work out, we've all learned something from it,” Daughtry said. “We don't learn things when we do everything perfectly. We learn things when we fail and make mistakes, so I try to instill that in our students.”

National award winners will be announced in March. This prestigious competition has been around for 100 years, and past recipients include Stephen King and Andy Warhol.  

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