Welcome to the NC Pottery Hall of Fame!

Potters have been working in North Carolina for thousands of years. Native Americans were the first to discover the uses of North Carolina clay. Later settlers made clay vessels for home and farm use. Today, there are over 500 potters working in the state. North Carolina has gained fame around the country for its long history of pottery making.

Work by these potters and more can be seen at the Mint Museum of Art and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design.

 

BURLON CRAIG - Folk potter

Burlon Craig's Weeping Eye Face, c 1979

Folk potter, Burlon Craig, was awarded the National Folk Heritage Award by the National Endowment of the Arts in 1984. In 1995, one of his face jugs sold for thousands of dollars in New York City. Today, Burlon still digs his clay from clay pits and grinds the glass for his glazes as potters did hundreds of years ago. Burlon lives in Vale in Lincoln County.

 

   
JOHN A. CRAVEN - Really Big Potter

John A. Craven's 15 Gallon Masonic Jar, 1855

John A. Craven worked as a potter in the early 1800s in Randolph County. John produced some of the largest pieces of stoneware ever made in North Carolina. A huge 15 Gallon jug is on display at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design.

 

   
WALTER AND DOROTHY AUMAN - Potters and Collectors

Leaf Dish by Potter and Collector Dorothy Cole Auman, c. 1950

Walter and Dorothy (Dot) Auman were quite a team! Dot made the clay pots. Walter mixed the glazes and fired the pots in the kiln. They also collected up to 2000 pieces of pottery from potters across the state. With this collection they opened up the first pottery museum in Seagrove, North Carolina. Eventually their huge collection was sold to the Mint Museum of Art. They received the Governor’s Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1990.

   
JACQUES AND JULIANNA BUSBEE - Pottery Entrepreneurs

Jugtown Pottery Mark.
A "Mark" is a notation on the bottom of pottery that tells who made the object.

Jacques and Julianna Busbee of Raleigh, North Carolina established Jugtown Pottery in Moore County, North Carolina in the early 1920s. They encouraged young potters to experiment with new shapes and colors. With their help, the pottery business grew and prospered. Today dozens of potteries are located near Jugtown Pottery.

   
CHESTER WEBSTER - Bird and Fish Potter

Chester Webster's One Gallon Rumlet, 1846

Chester Webster is called the "Bird and Fish" Potter. Look closely at his work and you will find a small bird or fish drawn into the clay. He lived in the 1800s and worked at Cross Creek, which eventually became Fayetteville. There are over 37 pieces of pottery that have survived by Chester. The Mint Museum of Art owns 20 of these.

   
DANIEL SEAGLE - Catawba Valley Potter

Dan Seagle's Meat Storage Jar, 1830

Daniel Seagle was the first well-known potter from the Catawba Valley Region. His family settled in the area that is now Lincoln County in the late 1700s. By the mid-1800s, he was operating a successful pottery business, which his son continued after his death.

   
BEN OWEN - Master Potter

Ben Owen's Han Vase, 1935

Ben Owen was the first Master Potter in North Carolina. Artists and arts organizations at the Dogwood Festival in Chapel Hill, North Carolina gave this title to him in 1933. Tis vase made by Ben Owen was one of the first objects that the Mint Museum of Art bought for its collection when it opened in 1936.

   
MICHAEL SHERRILL - White House Potter

Michael Sherrill's Twisted Tea, 1992

Michael Sherrill’s pots are featured in the White House Collection of Crafts. His work was selected by Hillary Clinton, wife of William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States to become part of this collection that has been on display in the White House. Michael is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina and now makes his home in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

 

 

Pottery as Art Hand Made vs. Machine Made Pottery During and After the Civil War Pottery in Colonial NC