Monday, March 4, 2013

A Friend in Need...

Joe Frank McKee is a potter and gallery owner in Dillsboro N.C. You may know him through his work or because he puts on THE WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA POTTERY FESTIVAL in Dillsboro every November. Last night, his studio at his home burned to the ground. The fire did not reach the house and everyone is fine but the studio is a total loss. He is scheduled to do Raku and Demos at Mike and Karen Baum's Studio sale in Lebanon, Ohio in a couple of weeks and says he still plans to attend. Here is the letter I got from Mike and Karen...

Clay Alliance Members:

We just heard some really bad news. Our good friend and potter, Joe Frank McKee, of Dillsboro, NC, lost his entire studio in an electrical fire last night. Luckily, no one was hurt. As many of you know, Joe Frank is the guest artist at our upcoming open house, March 22 & 23. Trooper that he is, he is still coming but he and his family need our help to rebuild. The scope of his loss is incomprehensible.
If you can please send a check to:

148 Front St
P.O. BOX 253

You can also show your appreciation and support by purchasing his pottery at the openhouse.

Joe Frank is one of the hardest working potters that we know; please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.


Karen & Mike Baum


  1. Dennis, you know I have lived through this. Please have them get in touch with c.e.r.f. to see if they can help him.

    Did they have insurance?
    I hope the very best for them.
    Also.... if they have a PayPal account donations can be made directly to them at no charge.

  2. Someone should set up a website for donations, how could any of us say no to a donation? Meredith is right, paypal would be the easiest way. I know Mark and Meredith could offer so much information, since they sadly lived through this nightmare as well.
    After reading this, my kiln troubles over the weekend are like a grain of sand in comparison. Such sad news....

  3. Dennis, he has a great website, do you know if the work for sale is available or did he lose it in the fire? It would be nice is some of us could just purchase some pots there on his site....

  4. The gallery is in town and was not affected so he has some inventory.. I don't know how much finished work he had in the studio. I got the info from my buddy Mike and he thinks they had insurance but try to come up with an accurate accounting on a loss like this not to mention the down time and lost production which is not likely to be covered. CERF and Paypal have been mentioned already but thanks Meredith for the ideas. Thanks to all for their interest and compassion. Joe Frank is a good guy with a family and things are going to be rough for a while.

  5. I also recommend contacting CERF ( They have small grants available that can help with rebuilding, etc.

    Emily Lees


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