Pottery and Paintings

Published 1:07 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

MURFREESBORO – There’s an abundance of pottery and paintings at Revelle Realty’s newest art show. The business is hosting the works of local artists Michael Hewitt and James Messer from now until January. An opening reception was held during the afternoon of October 19, and both Hewitt and Messer were there to talk about their work with visitors.

“I’m very heavy into color,” Hewitt said of his paintings adorning the walls. “That seems to be my strong suit.”

The colors in each painting are immediately eye-catching, arranged in all different sorts of patterns and designs. Hewitt said he plays around with different art styles such as tilting, line painting, alphanumerics, geometrics, and more.

“You put paint on it [the canvas] and just tilt it,” he explained of the simple tilting technique. “You get very nice details you couldn’t get very well with a brush.”

For line paintings, he also explained the technique where he paints lines within other lines, almost like a railroad track look. This particular painting style, however, is very time consuming, he added.

“The first two that I did took a year,” he said. “But they were very successful.”

Hewitt says he started painting seriously in 1996, though he dabbled with art beforehand, taking a few art classes in high school and college.

“I think my first painting was when I was about 10,” he recalled with a laugh.

James Messer, an art teacher at Roanoke-Chowan Community College, said he’s always enjoyed creating art.

“Ever since I was a kid, I was always just like the ‘art kid,’” he explained. “It was just a natural gift.”

Messer creates exceptional pottery—platters, vases, cooking pots, and more—which is on display alongside Hewitt’s paintings at the realty office. All of his pottery is made using clay solely from Hertford County.

“I don’t use any clay that’s not dug up from this county,” he explained, calling his work “Hertford County stoneware.”

According to Messer, most clay used by potters in North Carolina comes from the western part of the state, and it was costly to have it shipped to him all the time. He quickly discovered, however, that not only was local clay more cost-effective, but also very high quality.

Though his pottery is very pretty to look at, it’s not merely for decorative purposes. Everything Messer makes is functional and useable.

“I really kind of like to envision food in them, so I’m usually thinking about stuff you can put in them,” he said of what he thinks when he starts on a new piece. “I always make it good to cook in or eat out of.”

His platters and bowls come in a variety of colors which are made by the different glazes he puts on them. He has standard colors he uses, such as white and blue, but other pieces are a dazzling combination of multiple colors.

Pottery by James Messer

“Sometimes, you layer three or four or five glazes and you come up with something totally unpredictable. It’s almost one-of-a-kind,” he said.

He pointed to one platter in particular which had a splash of brown color across its surface. Messer explained the brown was originally blue, but the interaction with the salt glaze underneath unexpectedly changed the color completely.

“I just like to make things,” Messer said simply of his work.

Elicia Revelle, owner of the Murfreesboro business, praised both of the artists’ work and emphasized the importance of displaying local talent like Hewitt and Messer. She also said Messer’s pottery and prints of Hewitt’s paintings are available for purchase as well.

“It’s a little bit of something for everybody,” she said.

Along with their usual hours, in the coming months Revelle Realty will also be open during “Small Business Saturday” and during Murfreesboro’s Candlelight Christmas event, giving people an opportunity to shop local if they’re looking for nice Christmas gifts.

Revelle Realty is located at 129 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, contact Revelle at 252-396-1244.