Lula and Glenn Bolick of Caldwell County have brought multiple mountain and piedmont traditions into the 21st century. As potters, they continue the practice of Lula’s family, the Owens of Seagrove. Glenn sustains his family’s traditions as a saw-miller, musician, and storyteller, all showcased at the family’s annual Heritage Day celebration.
Glenn still runs his saw mill but pottery is the family’s main occupation. He grew up in the Bailey’s Camp community near the Caldwell and Watauga county line. A talented musician he plays a variety of instruments, and enjoys sharing the tunes he learned growing up in the mountains.
Lula is a fifth-generation potter. Her great-grandfather founded Owens Pottery in the late 1800s in Seagrove. Lula met Glenn at a drive-in diner in Asheboro while he was working in the Piedmont, and they married soon afterwards.
They both made pottery at the shop of Lula’s dad, M.L. Owens. Eventually they moved and purchased the old farm where Glenn was raised and opened Bolick Family Pottery in 1973. Their daughter, Janet Calhoun, a 6th generation Owens potter, owns Traditions Pottery in Blowing Rock with her husband, Michael. She also plays in the Bolick family band.
Glenn's efforts to preserve the occupational traditions of mountain communities have led to numerous invitations for speaking engagements and consultancies across the region.
"Glenn, more than any person I have known, has worked extremely hard to preserve traditions of the Southern Appalachian Mountain culture. …a fourth generation saw mill man. "
—Fred Fawley, Franklin Road Academy, Nashville, Tenn.