News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Top Story 2

December 2, 2012

For 30 years, Parke County couple have approached art form with passion, love

Pottery — hand-shaped dishes, pots, pans, baubles and so much more — created, often with an individual artistic flair from moist clay and fired by heat, is an art form as old as man himself.

Actually, an old Spanish saying reportedly seen in potters’ studios throughout Spain says, “God made the first pot and it was a man.” Perhaps this is the reason potters seem to be inexplicably drawn and bound to this hands-on “old-as-dirt” art form with such passion and love.

Chuck Wagoner and wife, Sue Badertscher Wagoner, are celebrating 30 years of creating such pottery in Parke County this year. They established their pottery at Billie Creek Village near Rockville in 1982, but Chuck’s desire to work with clay stems way back to childhood when he discovered “the magical material” in a creek bed at his grandmother’s farm.

“I would have to say that the reason I still work with clay is the same reason I first started. It’s fun to make things out of it.” He says this magical material is “immediately responsive” and easy to be spontaneous with. “I’m still crazy about clay after all these years!” he added.

Chuck said his first experiences with clay were at his grandmother’s farm where Deer Creek provided a plentiful supply of a yellow-red surface clay that Indiana is famous for.

“I liked to make little clay animals and little pots and plates and carve imaginary Indian settlements into the banks of the creek,” he said.

Although Sue’s passion for working with clay wasn’t born as early as Chuck’s, soon after being introduced to pottery upon meeting Chuck, she became as enamored as he was with the art form. Today, Chuck stresses, not one thing is made that they both haven’t had a hand in creating.

“She’s an equal half of the pottery,” he said. “We consider ourselves a ‘mom and pop’ industry and there’s nothing we didn’t both work on.” Chuck went on to say that they work together on every aspect of the production and each can do any of the steps of the process.

As a child, Sue loved to draw and paint but said she really found her niche when she signed up for John Laska’s summer art classes at Indiana State University’s Laboratory school. Following graduation from “Lab” school, she took many more art classes from Laska, learning to draw and paint realistic stilllifes and portraits.  She enrolled at Herron Art School to study art after graduating from Lab school and went on to win many awards over the years for her paintings and drawings. Working with clay, she became well known for her miniature pottery made on the potter’s wheel. Her work can be found in prestigious collections throughout the country.

Sue also specializes in many other items such as toothbrush holders, candle cut out pots and animals that are made from wheel-thrown forms and then transformed into cats, pigs and other whimsical creatures.

Her favorite pieces are those useable ones. “I love it that you can eat from them — that they are actually functional and don’t sit around and collect dust,” she said.

Pottery for the past 30 years has been special work she said, in that it is something she and Chuck can do together. “That is so special,” she said.

Chuck made his first pottery on the wheel when he was in a high school art class in 1974. That was when he became friends with well-known potters Richard and Marj Peeler, who became his mentors. Richard was a long-time professor at DePauw University, and his and wife Marj’s pottery, created at their studio in southern Putnam County, is now found in collections throughout the world.

After graduating from high school, Chuck continued on to Ball State University to study art and work on an art education degree. After one year he transferred to the University of Wisconsin to study salt-glazing firing techniques, which were later used on their imitation turn-of-the century pottery at Billie Creek Village.

Following Ball State, Chuck moved to Bloomington where he worked at the Bloomington Pottery Co. making functional pottery that was shipped all over the United States. It was here he learned to make “production pottery.” He said it was not unusual for potters there to make 100 or more pots a day. One technique he really excelled at was making handles by “pulling them” out of a soft piece of clay into long, graceful forms that lead to the handles that they now use for their pottery and for which they have become known for.

He later moved to Terre Haute and studied ceramics at ISU where he met his future wife, Sue. ISU had one of the strongest ceramics programs in the U.S., Chuck said. It was headed up by a local teacher and artist, Dick Hay. Some of the most important classes he took were with Hay, he said.

Chuck and Sue were married in 1981 and began demonstrating and selling at Billie Creek in 1982 where Wagoner Pottery was a staple for 30 years. When the village recently closed, the owner of the Mill at Bridgeton, Mike Roe, gave the Wagoners a new home to demonstrate pottery and to sell their wares.

“I love making pottery while watching the water go over the Mill dam, and Sue and I feel very strongly about providing demonstrations of pottery on the wheel. It is important for young and old alike to be able to see how it is done. It is part of Indiana history and a big part of human history,” Chuck said.

“We are proud to be a part of the arts and crafts heritage of Parke County,” Chuck said of their 30 years crafting wares. Besides being an integral part of the arts and crafts community, Chuck teaches art at North Vermillion High School and Sue works for the Rockville Community School Corp.

They both give credit to parents, especially their mothers, for encouraging their pottery efforts when many said it was not a viable business. “My mother encouraged me to take classes and pursue my interest in pottery,” Chuck said. “I’m especially grateful that she supported me and that Sue’s mother supported her all along the way. That went a long way in us reaching our 30-year celebration.”

At this point the Wagoners are working out of their home studio where they create functional high-fire stoneware for oven, microwave and dishwasher use.  Their pottery ranges in price from $3 to $35.

They make their own glazes and fire all the pottery to 2,300 degrees. They use a clay that is consistent so they can count on it to work for everyday use.

“We like to say our motto is ‘Made to be used,’” Chuck said.

Besides being available at Bridgeton Mill, you can find Wagoner pottery for sale at Neva’s giftshop on the north side of the Rockville square, Arts Illiana in Terre Haute, The Putnam County Museum in Greencastle and the Turkey Run State Park gift shop.

Check out their website at The Wagoners have plans to begin selling their wares online in 2013. They also have made the Peeler Ceramic Art Film series available on their web page and also on YouTube, These 16 mm films were the most used ceramic educational films for many years, according to Chuck.

On the Net







Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 2
  • holiday world thunderbird.jpg Holiday World plans new winged roller coaster

    SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (AP) — The Holiday World amusement park in southern Indiana is building a new $22 million roller coaster that it says will launch riders to 60 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds, with a 14-story loop and four inversions.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Health Overhaul Subsi_Ter .jpg Obamacare hit by ruling, but subsidies to continue

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law today, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Switzerland Obit Wint_Ter .jpg Blues legend Johnny Winter dies at 70 in Zurich

    GENEVA (AP) — Texas blues legend Johnny Winter emblazoned himself into the world’s consciousness with his tattooed arms churning out lightning-fast guitar riffs and his striking long white hair flowing from under his cowboy hat.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071609 BLUEBERRIES.jpg Scoop up some blueberries, live music

    Terre Foods Cooperative Market will present the sixth annual Blueberry Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, at Central Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Seventh St.
    Blueberry compote sundaes will be available for $5.

    July 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Emmy Nominations_Ter .jpg ‘Game of Thrones’ earns a leading 19 Emmy nods

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The sprawling and bloodthirsty saga “Game of Thrones,” defying the Emmy Awards’ grudging respect for such fantasy fare, emerged as the leader in the nominations announced today with 19 bids, including best drama series.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 033114 GREG ZOELLER MUG.jpg GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge strikes down Kentucky's gay marriage ban

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge in Kentucky struck down the state's ban on gay marriage on Tuesday, though the ruling was temporarily put on hold and it was not immediately clear when same-sex couples could be issued marriage licenses

    July 1, 2014

  • APTOPIX Gay Marriage _Morg.jpg ACROSS INDIANA: The latest news after gay marriage ruling

    Pence: Marriage should be a state-by-state choice

    GOP leader: Supreme Court must act on marriage

    Some counties wait to issue gay marriage licenses

    Gay marriage opponents say they 'warned' of ruling

    Same-sex couples in Indiana hail equal treatment

    Indiana AG says it will appeal gay marriage ruling

    Judge strikes down Indiana ban on gay marriage

    1st gay couple marries legally in Indianapolis

    June 25, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Obama_Morg.jpg Obama: U.S. should have paid maternity leave

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States should join the rest of the industrialized world and offer paid leave for mothers of newborns.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obit-Ruby Dee_Ter .jpg Daughter: Actress Ruby Dee dies at home of 'natural causes'

    NEW YORK (AP) — Ruby Dee, an acclaimed actor and civil rights activist whose versatile career spanned stage, radio television and film, has died at age 91, according to her daughter.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mosaic Potholes _Ter .jpg Chicago man filling potholes — artfully

    The perfect pothole might not exist for many people — but for mosaic artist Jim Bachor, it’s one with a nice oval shape. Bachor began filling those potholes a little more than a year ago, after one in front of his house became a hassle.

    June 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • Staten Island Fire _Ter .jpg 34 injured in Staten Island fire

    NEW YORK (AP) — Fire tore through three townhouses on Staten Island early today, injuring 34 people including two young children who were tossed out of a smoke-filled second-floor window into the arms of neighbors below, authorities and witnesses said.

    June 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • Germany Van Gogh~s Ea_Ter .jpg German museum shows live replica of van Gogh’s ear

    BERLIN (AP) — A German museum has put on display a copy of Vincent van Gogh’s ear that was grown using some of the Dutch artist’s genetic material.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Heat Pacers Basketball Pacers keep hope alive with win over Heat

    Paul George and the Pacers got one win Wednesday night.
    Now comes the hard part: Winning an elimination game at Miami against LeBron James and the Heat.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 050414 PINK SHADOW.jpg Awareness advocates gather to ‘Paint the Town Pink’

    It is the color of the ribbon painted on the pavement at the corner of Sixth Street and Wabash Avenue in downtown Terre Haute. It’s also the color associated with women and breast cancer.

    May 4, 2014 4 Photos

  • MERS Virus American_Tayl.jpg MERS-CoV: Mysterious virus found in Indiana

    Health officials on Friday confirmed the first case of an American infected with a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East.

    May 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 041314 PAINT PARTY.jpg Going purple: ‘Honoring those who are still fighting’ against cancer

    Every stroke of paint that touched the roadway had a profound meaning to a small group of painters on Sunday.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Ukraine_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 8:

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Kentucky UConn F_Tayl.jpg UConn wins NCAA title, 60-54, over Kentucky

    No conference wanted them. Several teammates and their coach left them. The NCAA wouldn’t have them.
    UConn won it all anyway.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV-Letterman Retiring_Ter .jpg Letterman’s departure will reshape late-night

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Fallon’s fast start replacing Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show the past two months had a secondary effect: David Letterman suddenly seemed old.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Owner Arrested _Ter .jpg Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested

    CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysia Plane_Ter .jpg UPDATE: Relatives sob as Malaysia confirms plane is lost

    BEIJING (AP) — Relatives shrieked and sobbed uncontrollably. Men and women nearly collapsed, held up by loved ones. Their grief came pouring out after 17 days of waiting for definitive word on the fate of the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Chicago Train_Ter .jpg Train derails, climbs escalator at Chicago airport

    CHICAGO (AP) — An eight-car Chicago commuter train plowed across a platform and scaled an escalator at an underground station at one of the nation’s busiest airports early today, injuring 32 people on board, officials said.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snohomish Mudslide_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 24:

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NYC Explosion_Ter .jpg Searchers scour rubble after blast kills 7

    NEW YORK (AP) — Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled four additional bodies overnight from the rubble of two Manhattan apartment buildings, as the death toll rose today, to at least seven from a gas leak-triggered explosion.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film Casting Jesus_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 7:

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • US Obama Ukraine Russ_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 4:

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • 86th Academy Awards -_Ter (2).jpg ‘12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture at Oscars

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

    March 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET030114swope shaffer.jpg VIDEO: Mardi Gras at the Swope

    Teresa Shaffer was handing out beads and masks at the Swope Art Museum's Mardi Gras celebration Saturday night. The event is an annual fundraiser for the downtown museum.

    March 1, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • Married Priest_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 28:

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
NDN Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010