Moving Stories: Videos from the American South

East Fork Pottery

All Wealth is From the Earth


Crew & Credits

Video by
Whitney Ott & Jaemin Riley

Shot, Edited & Directed — Whitney Ott & Jaemin Riley

Run Time: 4:26
Release Date: 10/28/13


We still find it hard to believe that the great-grandson of Henri Matisse somehow wound up happily ensconced in rural Madison County, N.C., making pottery.

His method is an old one: He builds thousands of pots one by one, then dries and decorates them. He then seals them in a kiln and builds a steady fire that reaches a stunning 2,300 degrees — literally hot enough to melt your grandma’s cast-iron skillet. They never know exactly how much of his work will be destroyed in this age-old process. Typically, 5 to 10 percent of the pots never make it out alive.

This short film, from husband-and-wife photo team Whitney Ott and Jaemin Riley, gives us an intimate, quiet look at Matisse’s process.