Located near the geographic heart of North Carolina, Randolph County’s village of Seagrove is known far and wide as the ‘pottery town’. The road from Seagrove to the Moore County town of Robbins is officially designated ‘The Pottery Highway’. It’s not the only place where pottery has been made in North Carolina, but when you say Seagrove to people who know the place, they suspect that you’re talking about pottery.
In the past, Quaker potters from Pennsylvania and Nantucket Island first made pottery in the region as early as the 1750s. They made utilitarian earthenware and stoneware in updraft kilns and subterranean furnaces called groundhog kilns.
Today, more than one hundred Seagrove area shops produce useful and decorative pottery, satisfying thousands of customers each year. Perhaps no other place in America can boast of a longer, unbroken pottery-making history than the North Carolina region called Seagrove. For more than two and a half centuries, it has been ‘pottery central’.
Following his introduction to North Carolina’s pottery scene while working as a small town newspaper photographer in the 1970s, Stephen C. Compton was on the path to becoming one of the region’s top pottery collectors and noted experts on the subject. An eighth generation North Carolinian, Steve’s interests include the state’s 18th and 19th century earthenware and stoneware traditions, as well as its early to mid-20th century art potteries, and how these traditions inform the work of hundreds of the state’s contemporary clay artists today.
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