Bakersville artist has big plans for new studio
BAKERSVILLE – Local artist David Westmeier is settling into his new gallery and studio space in Bakersville.
Westmeier, a clay artist who uses a Japanese firing technique called Raku, opened his new gallery called “David on the Corner” earlier this month in downtown Bakersville.
David on the Corner, which sits in the half of Anita’s Atelier that is the on the corner of Baskerville’s main intersection, is home to dozens of Westmeier’s creations as well as his pottery wheel, which sits beside the window next to the sidewalk, usually bathed in natural light.
Westmeier said his pieces are fragile and are generally better as display pieces rather than functional pieces. He added Raku is a speedy method of working with clay.
“Raku originated to produce roofing tiles for castles,” Westmeier said. “You can bring pieces to a temperature of 2,000 degrees in the matter of an hour. The value is in its beauty. It has a crackled surface that is unobtainable any other way.”
Westmeier moved from Louisville, Kentucky, to North Carolina this past October. He previously worked out of the Carriage House bed and breakfast in Bakersville.
Westmeier dreamed of having his own place that could not only offer him more space but also put him closer to the heart of the town’s activity.
When the space in downtown became available, Westmeier knew what he had to do.
“It’s exactly what I was looking for,” he said. “When I came down here, I brought with me drawings from an architect of my ideal studio. I thought I was going to have to build it, but I came over and looked at this building and knew this was going to be the one.”
Westmeier said the local arts community has accepted him with open arms. He added one of his goals is to bring more life to Bakersville.
“When I came here a year ago, it was sleepy,” Westmeier said about Bakersville. “I thought this place needs to be woken up.”
Westmeier plans to have live entertainment in his gallery on the weekends.
Westmeier hosted local musician David Wiseman this past Friday while the local galleries stayed open that evening for open houses.
“My hope is to keep Bakersville alert and alive after 8 p.m.,” Westmeier said.
Westmeier added he genuinely cares about Mitchell County. When he was planning to move to North Carolina, he initially considered Marshall.
“I went to visit my friend who lives in Marshall, and I kept saying I had to move there,” Westmeier said. “Every night, we would just sit in the pub, and I thought that if I moved there, that’s what I would do every night and I didn’t want to do that.”
Westmeier then considered Burnsville, but he wasn’t sold. On his way out of town, he saw Mitchell County and was immediately in love.
“I passed through Burnsville, and I said ‘no,’” Westmeier said. “I turned onto Highway 226 from 19E and tears came to my eyes, and my heart leaped into my throat. This is what I had been looking for all of my life.”
Westmeier said he is committed to offering live entertainment on the weekends as often as he can. He added he hopes to offer pottery classes in the future for two students at a time.
“The techniques I’ve learned are intense,” Westmeier said. “It’s very difficult to teach them. No one really uses those techniques anymore. People have gotten away from them, but it allows you to have more freedom and creativity.”