Opened in 1992, Kovack Pottery is the result of a collaboration between husband Craig Kovack and wife Michelle Kovack. Each piece of hand-turned pottery in Kovack Pottery was made by Craig on the potter’s wheel. They never purchase greenware. Michelle makes all the hand-built pieces using slabs and extruded shapes. A piece of “Kovack” pottery is made start-to-finish at Kovack Pottery. Michelle hand-paints most of their stoneware pottery with floral, fruit, holiday, pine cone, log cabin, humming bird, and other patterns. She decorates the rest with applications of color glazes. No decals are ever used on the pottery. They carry a wide selection of functional and decorative stoneware including face jugs, spider jugs, pie plates, mugs, ornaments, etc. at affordable prices. Each piece of pottery has the potter’s initials, is dated, and is marked “Kovack”.
The first time that Craig touched a piece of clay was in 1968 when he was in the third grade. He created a mixed-media sculpture that was entered into a statewide competition. Ever since then, working with pottery has been his life’s passion. In 1976 Craig began turning pottery. In 1978 he studied turning under Sebastiano Maglio, a 9th generation master potter from Sicily. Craig took drawing & pottery making courses at his local college from 1979 through 1981 and also worked at the Blackberry Historical Society where he turned pottery on a kickwheel for demonstrations and informed people about the historical significance of clay and how it has helped develop modern culture.
From 1981 through 1984 he worked as a student assistant teaching basic turning techniques. Craig worked as a production potter at a production pottery in Elgin Illinois from 1984 through 1987 where he developed the skill to turn 60 twelve-pound lamps (made to within a 1/4″ tollerance of the required dimensions of the form) per day to be sold through Spiegel catalog. Craig designed and turned a wide range of forms from a one-pound mug up to a twelve-pound lamp on a production level for Olde Cape Cod Stoneware from 1987 through 1991 . After moving to Seagrove NC in 1991, he worked at several local potteries including Shelton’s, Cole’s, Holly Hill, Rockhouse, and Cady Clay Works. Craig quickly gained a reputation as an excellent potter and won the respect of his peers.
Michelle realized early in life that she had a talent for painting and drawing creating “refrigerator art” in elementary school. She took fine arts classes for four years throughout highschool where she studied painting with watercolors, oil paint, and acrylics, as well as drawing with charcoal, pastels, pen & ink, and pencil. In 1981 she entered several drawings, paintings and mixed media pieces into the 32nd Annual Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards Competition (a statewide competition) and won a certificate of merit, a certificate of recognition, a gold key award, and a blue ribbon. In 1982 she attended her local college taking a watercolor class and a class in studio art. Michelle began her career as a pottery artist working for Olde Cape Cod Stoneware in 1987 staying through 1991.
Although painting on the porous surface of greenware was very different from the forgiving surface of paper, she found that she enjoyed the challenge that it presented. During this time she entered her local county fair where she won a red ribbon for drawing in 1988 and a blue ribbon for painting in 1989. Moving to Seagrove in 1991, she worked as a pottery artist for Turn & Burn and Shelton’s potteries until Kovack Pottery was opened. Now with the freedom to paint whatever she wants, Michelle’s painting is constantly evolving and changing, especially with the limited-edition pieces made once a year for their annual Spring Event. She also finds joy in experimenting with new glaze recipes and different glaze techniques which can yield exciting results. She also has developed a line of hand-built pottery from slabs and extruded pieces.
For the Kovacks, this is not just a hobby, but their life’s work.