For Immediate Release | Images available here

Charlotte, North Carolina (May 13, 2022) —  For more than 200 years, members of the Cole family have been potting in central North Carolina — Randolph, Moore, Lee, and Montgomery counties. Six generations of Coles, and no fewer than 18 individuals, are represented in The Mint Museum’s permanent collection. More than 60 highlights of their wares are included in the new installation The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters, on view at Mint Museum Randolph.

From crocks, jars, and jugs to pitchers, candleholders, and vases, “turning pots” is one of the oldest and richest craft traditions in North Carolina. The deep-rooted legacy of the Cole family of potters began with Raphard Cole, born in 1799. He and his sons produced utilitarian stoneware, such as crocks, jugs, and urns, that were needed in an agrarian economy. Following generations distinguished themselves from their forebears by training their daughters, as well as their sons, on how to “turn pots.”

As the North Carolina tourist market for decorative ceramics evolved, the Cole family produced an impressive variety of colorfully glazed vases, pitchers, candleholders, and other ceramic pieces. Examples of all these wares also are on view in the installation.

“In a state filled with multigenerational families of gifted potters, the Coles stand out as one of North Carolina’s most enduring and prolific. For more than two hundred years, they have contributed enormously to the state’s ceramic traditions through their well-potted objects and their exceptionally beautiful glazes,” says Brian Gallagher, senior curator of decorative arts at The Mint Museum.

The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters presents a visual history of “turned pots” and the family that helped turn North Carolina into one of America’s centers for handmade, traditional pottery.

The Mint Museum
Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Clayton Sealey, senior director of marketing and communications | 704.534.0186 (c)

Michele Huggins, associate director of marketing and communications | 704.564.0826 (c)