The Cousins in Clay is a collaborative adventure started in 2010 by Bruce Gholson, Samantha Henneke, and Michael Kline. Each year we invite some of our pottery kin from far and wide for a pottery rich weekend that includes a whole lot of our best pottery, awesome fresh food and beverage, and of course we make pots! In 2019 Courtney Martin and Kyle Carpenter joined Michael to host the sale in Bakersville.

The concept of "Cousins in Clay"  is attributed to Michael  who referred to a visit to his “clay cousins” Bruce and Samantha in Seagrove, on his blog Sawdust and Dirt.  After the cousin reference in his blog, Bruce and Samantha invited Michael to participate in their first Bulldog Pottery Studio Art sale, and titled it “Cousins in Clay”. This has now become an annual event with nationally recognized  guest cousins from across the country. We recognize that clay artists all over the world are related to one another through the common bond of clay.  We are one big extended family of cousins in clay!

Cousins in Clay over the years:

Dan Anderson (2014), Bill Brouillard (2015), Troy Bungart (2018), Kyle Carpenter, Blair Clemo (2014), Henry Crissman (2015), Val Cushing (2010), Judith Duff (2012), Adam Field (2015), Dan Finnegan (2019) Julia Galloway (2016), Bruce Gholson, Steven Godfrey (2018), Kenyon Hansen (2017), Samantha Henneke, Rick Hensley (2013), Kristen Kieffer (2016), Becca Jane Koehler (2019), Peter Lenzo (2011), Courtney Martin, David MacDonald (2013), Paul McMullan (2018), Jenny Mendes (2014), Didem Mert (2017), Ron Meyers (2012), Lindsay Oesterritter (2017), Doug Peltzman (2015), Donna Polseno (2013), Justin Rothshank (2015), Mark Shapiro (2012), Dug Stanat (2016), Sam Taylor (2012), Jack Troy (2011, 2013), Todd Wahlstrom (2018), Tara Wilson (2016)


Bruce Gholson makes a diverse range of functional and decorative ceramics working with a variety of clays and glazes. Originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma, Bruce started making pots in 1973 after his first exposure to clay in his home town’s college ceramics facility at Oklahoma State University.  Bruce received his M.F.A. in ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1997, and his BFA in ceramics from the University of Georgia at Athens in 1978.  Bruce worked at Berea College’s Clay program in Berea, Kentucky for three years as the graduate apprentice, making pots, managing the materials inventory, firing schedules, and studio maintenance.  Bruce has work in many private and museum collections including AMOCA, Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramics Art, Mobile Museum of Fine Art, Arizona S.U. Art Museum, Gregg Museum, and Mint Museum.

Samantha Henneke grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia, and attended her home-town college, Virginia Tech. While searching the halls for her place in life she finally found it during her junior year while taking a pottery class, in the spring of 1991.  After completing one more year at Virginia Tech, she transferred to the New York State College of Ceramics in Alfred in the fall of 1992, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ceramics in 1995. Her studio art pottery aesthetics are traditional with a flare - a dotted mug, an insect on a plate, or swirl on a covered jar.  Samantha also enjoys creating fantasy garden landscapes depicting life in the garden. She composes crystalline glazed paintings on porcelain canvases of scenes such as a red dressed girl working with a dung beetle, a larger then life red-eye fly portrait, or a girl skipping through a garden of flowering shoes. She participates in exhibitions throughout the year, has appeared in a number of publications, and has ceramic work in national museums such as the Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama, the Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, and the Gregg Museum in Raleigh.

Michael Kline has been a studio potter since 1993. He studied pottery, painting, and printmaking at the University of Tennessee where he received a BFA. He also studied under Michael Simon at the Penland School of Crafts in 1989. Michael has written articles for the Studio Potter magazine and from 2007-2015 wrote a almost daily blog, “Sawdust & Dirt”, which later turned into a podcast with the same name. His work has been published in numerous pottery books, including Robin Hopper’s “Functional Pottery.” He has led many workshops and given presentations of his work at universities and clay centers across the country, including the Penland School and the Arrowmont School. Michael is a former board member of the NC POTTERY CENTER in Seagrove, NC.

In 2008 he joined his pottery friends, Samantha Henneke and Bruce Gholson of Bulldog Pottery, to form Cousins in Clay, a biannual pottery sales event in Seagrove and in Bakersville.

Michael lives in Bakersville, North Carolina and is married to goldsmith Stacey Lane. Stacey and Michael have two daughters, Evelyn and Lillian.

Courtney Martin is a full time studio potter living and working in the mountains of North Carolina. She grew up just outside of New York City on Long Island.  After high school Courtney went to college at the University of New Mexico.  During her first year at UNM, she took a ceramics class on a whim and fell in love with clay.  After graduating with a BFA in ceramics, Courtney moved to western North Carolina. While working with other potters, learning more about making pottery and the business of pottery, Courtney continued to develop her own voice in ceramics.  She has taken and assisted in classes at Penland, Arrowmont, Odyssey and Santa Fe Clay.  In 2006 she stopped working for others and began making her living making pots.       


Kyle Carpenter was born and raised in the Raleigh, NC. He attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2000. Kyle soon married and made his permanent home in Asheville. In 2002, he built a salt-kiln and made a studio at his home. Since then, he has been working as a full-time studio potter, exhibiting his work at studio tours, galleries, and museums across the United States. In 2007, Kyle moved his studio and gallery to Asheville’s Historic River Arts District. He continues to welcome locals and tourists alike into his