Divine Creations

Violet, Morgan McCarver

At 14, Morgan McCarver underwent scoliosis spinal fusion surgery. The 12 months following her operation were dark.

As she tells Asheville Made, “It was a year-long recovery process in which I wasn’t allowed to bend, twist, run, jump, or pick up anything over 10 pounds.” But more significantly, doctors forbade McCarver from dancing — a passion she had discovered as a small child.

“I lost my creative outlet and friend group all at once,” the South Carolina native reveals. “It was really hard for me.”

Determined to help her daughter find a new muse, McCarver’s mother registered her for a summer arts camp. That’s where she first discovered pottery.

“I had played with clay and Play-Doh as a child, but this instructive and encouraging atmosphere was completely different,” she says. “I got flexibility out of the clay that I could no longer find in my own physical body.”

Wisteria, Morgan McCarver

In the coming years, McCarver became “enamored with the ceramics process,” signing up for workshop after workshop at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. In 2019, she graduated from Anderson University with a degree in ceramics.

Today, McCarver creates porcelain kitchenware out of Southside Studios in Asheville. Many of her cups, plates, teapots, and vases are embellished with toile de Jouy-inspired wildflower designs, which are hand-drawn and transferred onto the work. These flowers, the artist says, are a testament of her Christian faith.

“Wildflowers are not planted, weeded, watered, or nurtured,” McCarver points out, “yet they grow without anyone’s help but God’s.”

God has helped McCarver grow, too. She discusses this in her debut book, God the Artist: Revealing God’s Creative Side Through Pottery (Morgan James Publishing, January 2024).

Released earlier this month, the text is a three-part, step-by-step guide to pottery making. “I start [with] the very basics of pottery, explaining what clay is and how it works, and then proceed to dive deeper into techniques and firings,” says McCarver.

She also offers insightful commentary on the intersection of ceramics and Christianity, pulling references from the Bible. Each chapter then concludes with “creativity challenges,” which “are broad enough that creatives of all media and skill levels can participate.”

According to McCarver, her goal in writing this book wasn’t to evangelize but rather to help readers “find joy in their own God-given creative talents.”

Morgan McCarver, Asheville, morganmccarver.com and on Instagram. You can find the artist’s work at the Asheville Art Museum (2 South Pack Square, Asheville, ashevilleart.org), The Cottage Collections (30 North Lexington Ave., Asheville), High Climate Tea Company (12 South Lexington Ave., Suite 1, Asheville, highclimatetea.com), Brevard Clay (84 East Main St., Brevard, brevardclay.com), and Wood Berry Gallery (66 East Main St., Saluda, woodberrygallery.net). On Saturday, Jan. 20, at 1pm, McCarver will host a book signing at Reems Creek Pottery (181 Reems Creek Rd., Suite 6, Weaverville). Find “Reems Creek Pottery” on Facebook for more information.

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