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North Carolina Pottery

North Carolina's pottery is as varied as the state's people, with a history that is equally expansive. From American Indian tribes to 20th-century Seagrove pottery, North Carolina offers a remarkable range of ceramics.

North Carolina's clay-rich soil made it a prime location for pottery production. American Indians, particularly the Cherokee tribe, capitalized on this resource for their pieces, a tradition that was adopted by early settlers and farmers in the region. The influx of greater numbers of settlers over the subsequent centuries resulted in an even wider array of ceramic offerings. By the end of the 18th century, a large population of Moravians who settled in the Catawba Valley had developed Seagrove pottery, whose iconic designs are still in demand.

The late 19th and early 20th century witnessed the arrival of producers Jugtown and Owens, who responded to contemporary consumer demands for pieces that were both utilitarian and artful. It is this blend of art and utility drives the celebration of North Carolina's pottery producers even in the present day.

Quick Facts

  • Manufacturers including Jugtown Pottery experienced a resurgence in popularity during the Arts and Crafts era, which celebrated the artisanal nature of design
  • Jugtown Pottery, founded by Jacques and Julianna Bisbee in Seagrove, was the product of chance: having found a brilliant orange ceramic pie dish that they both loved, they set out to locate the maker. They traced the piece and its unique glaze to North Carolina
  • Seagrove still treasures its ceramists with the annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters. This commemorative event began in the early '80s

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