Pottery Itinerary for the Seagrove Area -- Stop 6 Jugtown Pottery
Make a left out of the parking lot, and then take the next left onto Jugtown Road.
Around the corner from the Original Owens Pottery is Jugtown Pottery. Founded in 1922 by Jacques and Juliana Busbee, Jugtown Pottery is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jugtown is operated by Vernon Owens, who, like his father M.L. Owens, is a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award winner, and Vernon’s wife Pam Lorette Owens, also a very highly regarded potter. Other artists working at Jugtown include Vernon’s older brother Bobby, an expert in glazing and firing techniques, and Charles Moore, who has been associated with Jugtown Pottery since the 1950s, and is known for his animal figures and knowledge of building groundhog kilns. Travis and Bayle Owens, Vernon and Pam’s children, have entered the family business, and Travis’ work is sold in the shop.
Next door to the sales cabin is the Jugtown Museum, where you can learn about the history of this important establishment. Jacques and Juliana Busbee, founders of Jugtown, were artists and art promoters who, around the time of the First World War, became aware of the pottery industry just southwest of their native Raleigh. The Seagrove tradition at that time was not moribund but was certainly flagging, and the Busbees, whose imaginations were captivated by the region’s old-time forms, so compatible with the contemporary arts and crafts movement, set about to revitalize the local industry. With connections to the art market in New York, and with the expert craftsmanship and partnership of local potters – most notably Charlie Teague, Ben Owen, Sr., and, years later, a young Vernon Owens – the Busbees did indeed have much to do with the resurgence of Seagrove pottery. Since Mrs. Busbee’s death in the 1960s, Jugtown has been through a series of ownerships and business models, and continues to be an influential force in piedmont pottery. In the Jugtown Museum, you will see many wonderful pieces made by the Owens family over the generations.
Photo: Jugtown Museum interior; photo by Sarah Bryan.
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