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Public Art: Mother Hen & Her Chicks

Title: Mother Hen and Chicks

Artist: Fred Johnston

Year: 2006

Medium: Pottery

Location: Center City Park


Mother Hen & Her Chicks is a collection of pottery-inspired sculptures by artist, Fred Johnston. These works represent the culture of pottery as a folk arts tradition of the region married with the genre's emphasis on primitive forms and natural themes.

The Artist

Fred Johnston grew up in the rural South, and his approach to clay is rooted in the Southern folk pottery traditions of North Carolina. He began making pots in the Seagrove area in the 1980s which launched his passion and dedication for pottery.


Fred is a graduate of Alfred University, the New York State College of Ceramics in Alfred, New York, and he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Penn State University. Fred and his wife Carol Gentithies opened their studio Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery in Seagrove, NC in 1997. His studio is one of the over 100 pottery studios and galleries in Seagrove North Carolina, with his work adding to the 300-year history of one of the largest communities of potters in the nation. Mother Hen is Fred's first large sculpture, where the baby chick is facing the leading Mother Hen Vase.


His work extends these traditions by mixing motifs and styles from different time periods and cultures such as Greek, Korean, Chinese, Pre-Columbian, European, and Mimbres. Seagrove’s abundant clay deposits were first utilized by Native Americans, with English and German immigrant potters arriving in the late 1700s, giving the area the longest continual history of pottery making in the United States.


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