Face Jugs


Face jugs are humorous and often times have funny expressions. Potters began creating face jugs in their spare time. Some potters are famous for their face jugs like Burlon Craig of Vale, North Carolina. His face jugs are in great demand.



African American Tradition
This is a face jug made by an unidentified African-American slave around 1850. Enslaved African-Americans made bricks and pottery for use on the plantation. In their spare time, they created clay vessels with faces. These objects were highly prized in the community. They were passed down from one generation to the next. Other North Carolina potters also made face vessels. Perhaps they saw these small vessels and tried to make a face on one of their jugs.



Tourist Whimseys
At first, no one wanted to buy face jugs because they were so unusual. When tourism in the Seagrove area grew, the demands for face jugs increased. This example by potter Auby Hilton was made in the 1920s. Several of Auby’s face vessels survive today including this one from the Mint Museum of Art’s collection. Today many people collect face jugs.