DescriptionThe English settlers who moved to Seagrove in the mid-18th century were potters by trade, drawn to the region by the abundance of surface clay—a resource that had been employed by native inhabitants for thousands of years previously. Throughout the 19th century, large deposits of stoneware clay supported a thriving community of farmer-potters who produced earthenware pieces used for the preparation and preservation of food.
As mass-produced goods and refrigeration became more common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries there was a declining need for such utilitarian wares, and Prohibition eliminated the market for whiskey jugs. But while pottery traditions died out in much of the country, they survived in North Carolina due to strong roots in family-owned and -operated businesses. Decorative items eventually created new markets, and today some Seagrove potters claim seventh- and eighth-generation status.
With more than 100 shops, this area remains a vibrant community of potters working in both traditional and unconventional shapes, forms and techniques. A map showing the location of local potters is available in the lobby of the North Carolina Pottery Center.
Things to SeeNorth Carolina Pottery Center