I am very excited to share with you this interview with watercolor artist Polly Gott. Polly lives and works in the mountains in the far reaches of Madison County, North Carolina, near the Tennessee border. She moved to the area in 1960 with her husband Peter, where they lived a very rugged life, raising their family for a number of years without electricity or modern plumbing, and learning to grow all their own food. The Gotts learned from their neighbors how to play local mountain music as well as how to build their own home. They passed down the musical tradition to their children, and the Gotts became known for performing and for helping preserve the music. Also, Peter Gott became an authority on building hand-hewn log cabins, teaching many workshops on the subject.
I know I digress, but as you will see in the interview, it is very difficult to talk about Polly’s art without understanding the context of her family life.
Polly has a degree in art, with a specialization in sculpture, but decided that painting fit her lifestyle better than sculpting.
Not mentioned during the audio but explained during my pre-interview tour of her farm was that during her early years in Madison County, Polly used her creative skills to fashion the pottery her family needed for cooking and the baskets they used for harvesting. Polly uses one of these baskets to this day, to carry her art supplies when she goes outside to paint.
Polly is well-known for her watercolor paintings of mountains and big skies. One trip to her farm studio helped me see where she gets her inspiration!
Listen to the episode by hitting the play button below:
To connect with Polly and see more of her work:
- SCROLL down!
- visit her Facebook page
- Follow her Facebook page for announcements of upcoming events.
- Polly will have a solo show of her work at Zuma Coffee in August and September on Main Street in Marshall, North Carolina!
Highlights of this interview include
- How Polly came to this area and established a rural lifestyle
- Polly’s admiration for her family members and their talents
- the role making art and attending art workshops has played in relation to Polly’s rugged homesteading life
- the role of music in the family’s life
- why Polly chose watercolor as her medium
- the mystery to me about Polly’s art that will not be solved
- how painting in the Adirondacks is different for Polly than in the Appalachian mountains
Artists mentioned during the interview:
- Tony van Hasselt
- Judy Wagner
- Jim Gray, the artist who inspired Polly to begin watercolor painting
- Gabriel Kohn, the sculptor Polly interned with
Local links of interest mentioned during the interview:
- The link to Susi Gott Seguret cookbook, Appalachian Appetite
- Zuma Coffee, the venue in Marshall, NC where Polly mentioned showing her paintings