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Phil Haralam: Limitless Clay

(Last Updated On: October 26, 2016)

localtalent-photoPhil Haralam’s career as a ceramic artist and teacher goes all the way back to his dad’s artistic explorations.
“Just from his interest and I guess both of my parents taking us to museums and looking at art, it was always in our life at some type of capacity,” said Haralam.
After getting a bachelor of fine arts in ceramics at Guilford in 2002, Haralam has been making a living both teaching and making work. To him, the ceramic art form is boundless.
“For a lot of people who work with clay, there is just that initial loveliness,” said Haralam. “For me, the conscious decision to focus in clay was it seemed limitless. It was the medium with the most potential and the most variety. You can paint, you can sculpt, you can make functional pots.”
One of the things Haralam most loves in his work is his time in the studio. The other is experiencing how other people appreciate his work.
The current theme of his work is urban gardens. He challenges the concept of what we consider the natural world, finding beauty in urban details like powerlines and telephone poles. He integrates those details with flowers and fields.
“All my work has to do with my surroundings, my environment, interactions,” said Haralam. “I got some raised beds and gardens; it’s just something that I enjoy, watching that process of growth and abundance and then decline, the cycle of life.”
Haralam finds excitement in the challenges that comes with his line of work.
“The biggest challenge in the studio is how I keep it fresh, how do I keep it interesting, and how do I keep myself charged,” he said. “In a lot of life there are challenges that are like a slog, that are not fun.
“But I would say that’s the most challenging thing but it’s also the most exciting thing. That challenge is almost like a drug. It keeps you coming back.”
Haralam currently works at Rockingham Community College. His goals are to keep developing his work and connect more to his local community in Greensboro and the Triad.
Want to see Haralam’s work? See it at the Summerfield Gallery and check out their 2016 Holiday Pottery Show at 4444 Hamburg Mill Rd, in Summerfield on Nov. 18-20. For more information, see Haralam’s website at