By BECKY GILLETTE
SEMINARY — Claudia “Ka” Cartee, 69, has been “telling a story with clay” since she was a little girl and her father, a professional mold maker who had a regional ceramic slip business, gave her a potting wheel. A professional potter since 1973, Cartee has averaged making two tons of clay per year into art ranging from functional pottery such as cups, plates and bowls to sculptures and jewelry. In spite of brain surgery six years ago, Cartee has continued to produce work so exceptional that she was named the Mississippi Arts Commission Governor’s Awards, Excellence in Visual Arts winner for 2016.
Cartee and her husband, Troy Cartee, who is manager of the pottery business, have proven you don’t have to live in a big city to have success as artists. They operate a gallery and studio on 54 acres they own seven miles east of Seminary.
“Ms. Cartee’s exceptional success as a potter from rural Mississippi has cultivated arts tourism in Seminary, where her studio and sales gallery are located,” said the Mississippi Arts Commission award. “She has shared her love of creating pottery by teaching throughout her career, mentoring clay artists and conducting countless workshops to help the next generation of potters. Among her clay sculptures and wall pieces, Ms. Cartee’s usable pottery and functional works are very popular with collectors. She signs her work ‘Ka’, which means the part of the spirit that lives on after death.”