Award Tiles

The awards table at Longleaf Film Festival, North Carolina Museum of History, May 12–13, 2023.  (Photo Courtesy North Carolina Museum of History)


In addition to prizes awarded to individual category winners (discussed on the Submissions page), all winners also receive a unique, hand-crafted (in North Carolina, no less, to celebrate the state’s heritage of pottery making) tile plaque.  Tiles are accompanied with stands and denote the film’s title and winning category. Only enough plaques are crafted for each winner to take one home!


North Carolina made ceramic tiles are traditional presentations to winners at Longleaf Film FestivalFor year 10, Longleaf Film Festival is happy to work with Laura Gullie, of Snowhill Tile, for a third year! Laura draws each tile by hand, without the use of molds or presses, to create special and unique one-of-a-kind pieces that endure. Her creativity draws inspiration from the new and the old—and she often reflects her love of North Carolina’s mountains—as well as her own innate sensibilities.


North Carolina made ceramic tiles are traditional presentations to winners at Longleaf Film FestivalLaura Gullie, a lifelong clay artist, is returning for Longleaf 2023—she created award tiles for our inaugural festival in 2015! “Clay has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I loved digging up the clay in my backyard, making little pots decorated with sticks and acorns, and letting them dry in the sun.” After earning a BA in ceramics from Meredith College, Laura started a successful ceramics business in the historic pottery community of Seagrove, where she began to focus on ceramic tile. She enjoys revisiting older designs while creating new ones and is open to the adventure of creativity. You can see examples of her work on Instagram.


North Carolina made ceramic tiles are traditional presentations to winners at Longleaf Film FestivalLook at this year’s clay award tiles, and you will understand why we asked Andrea Freeman of Freeman Clayworks to make our 2022 prizes—for the fourth year in a row! Andrea makes pieces that often reflect both childlike wonder and ecological themes. Also, aware of environmental impacts, Freeman now uses an electric kiln, in part because it uses lower temperatures and less energy than a wood-fire kiln. We appreciate her continuing artistry and understand that she may soon have a website for further exploration.


North Carolina made ceramic tiles are traditional presentations to winners at Longleaf Film FestivalAnd . . . in her third starring role for Longleaf as our prize-tile artist, we offer a huge shout-out to Andrea Freeman for creating our 2021 award tile. Her work at Freeman Clayworks demonstrates an ability to make pottery that is both—as she said in an article for Asheville Made—“a vessel and a canvas, all at once.” Whimsical, meaningful, useful, and beautiful, we are thrilled to have Andrea’s work represent the intersection of two North Carolina arts and crafts traditions: pottery and filmmaking.


2020 Longleaf Film Festival award tiles were handcrafted by Andrea Freeman, of Freeman ClayworksA first for Longleaf: we so loved Andrea Freeman’s artistry on our prize tiles for 2019 that we invited her back for 2020—and she will not disappoint! Freeman Clayworks is at-home in Asheville, where Andrea studied at Penland School of Craft. With a BFA in ceramics from ECU, Andrea continues to create inviting and intriguing works of art in her home full of pets and people. Read more below, and visit her presence on Facebook!


Andrea Freeman was potter for Longleaf Film Festival's 2019 award tilesLongleaf’s 2019 tile artist was Andrea Freeman, of Freeman Clayworks. Andrea took her first pottery class at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro in 1987. After studying for three years, she apprenticed with a potter, studied at Penland School of Craft, and earned a BFA in ceramics at the School of Art and Design, East Carolina University. Andrea also earned a master’s degree in teaching art from Western Carolina University, then worked as a preschool teacher for 10 years. Now a full-time potter, she finds inspiration in children, nature, and color and is constantly inspired by her life and home in Asheville—she lives there with her family of humans (a husband and two sons) and pets (a dog and four cats). Andrea aims to create work that is engaging, entertaining, and beautiful.  Check out some of her work on Instagram!


Meredith Heywood, Whynot Pottery, created our 2018 Longleaf Film Festival award tilesAward tiles for 2018 winners at the annual Longleaf Film Festival were handmade by Meredith Heywood, of Whynot Pottery. She and her husband, Mark, started out on a borrowed wheel from Jugtown Pottery. After years of training, practice, and trial and error, they took full advantage of the older potters who lived and worked around Seagrove. Meredith is a North Carolina native, and she currently lives on her grandfather’s birthplace. As a child, “my two brothers and two sisters and I would spend our summers . . . on the farm . . . chasing cows and working in tobacco, but we spent more time fishing and swimming in the large pond on the property.” One of her favorite memories is collecting small . . . shards at Cole’s pottery: “We thought of the tiny bits of glazed pieces as if they were gems.”  Read more in this blog post.


The artist for our 2017 award tile was Mary Farrell of Westmoore Pottery. Mary has been part of the Seagrove (Randolph County) community for more than 40 years and is inspired by pottery that was made in North Carolina between 1755 and 1850. “All the pottery is made to be used. . . . I aim to achieve as close a look to the old wares as I can without using a lead glaze,” she notes. “Essentially, what I am doing is trying to replicate the old pottery as it was when it was new, not as the somewhat worn antique it would be today.” Used in more than 120 museums and living history sites, Mary also creates products for period films.


Longleaf Film Festival's 2016 award plaqueThe LFF award tiles for 2016 were made by Elise Atkins at Lithic Designs in Cary. Her plaques were made by transferring the festival logo onto marble tiles.


Longleaf Film Festival's 2015 award plaqueAward tiles for Longleaf Film Festival 2015 were crafted by North Carolina potter Laura Weant of Snowhill Pottery and Tileworks. A graduate of Meredith College in Raleigh, she now works in Seagrove (Randolph County), where her work is inspired primarily by the Arts and Crafts movement and the Art Nouveau movement.