Seagrove, Pottery Capital of the USA
Named after Ewin G. Seagroves, a railroad official, the town of Seagrove is where the center of the population of the state of North Carolina can be located. According to spoken history of the locality, the name emerged after a sign painter run out of space and simply dropped the last letter “s.” Seagrove has been dubbed as the Pottery Capital of the USA, with potters sticking through the tradition of creating earthenware the same way back in the 1700s. The railroad that the town’s namesake had rerouted served Seagrove until December 31, 1951, while the old train station later became a pottery museum.
On November 7, 1998, the North Carolina Pottery Center was opened and has been attracting visitors all over the world. Located at 233 East Avenue, Seagrove, the museum was established to promote awareness of North Carolina’s pottery heritage through exhibits, tours, workshops, and outreach. The exhibit showcases more than eight hundred pieces of pottery, artifacts, and photographs that tell not only the historical evolution of pottery but also the impact of social, technological and economic factors and changes in making potteries. The Pottery Center also includes a shop that sells small replicas of the pieces in the permanent collection. They also sell miniatures, ornaments, local crafts, books, and pottery stands.
There are more than 100 potteries in Seagrove and in its neighboring towns (Star, Whynot, Westmoore, and Robbins). Some of these pottery shops are the following. Anita’s Pottery & Dogwood Gallery in Highway 705, specializing on hand-turned miniature pots, water gardens, and decorative pots; Seagrove Creations in Little River Road, selling potteries of various shapes and glazes that are decorative and functional; Bulldog Pottery in Highway 220, that offers decorative porcelain and clay pottery; Wyndham & Brooke Haven Pottery Gallery on Main Street, specializing in slab-constructed and wheel-turned pottery; Kovack Pottery in Fork Creek Mill Road, specializing in stoneware pottery and hand-painted designs; Richardson Pottery in Joel Jessup Road, specializing in functional and decorative home potteries; Original Owens Pottery in Busbee Road, producing glazed potteries; Johnston & Gentithes Art Pottery in Main Street; specializing in visionary sculpture using local clay.
With its much-celebrated history of pottery, Seagrove also holds its annual Seagrove Pottery Festival during November. This year, Seagrove will be celebrating its 27th-year festival at the Seagrove Elementary School; a school established on April 3, 1911, and is currently housing students from kindergarten to fifth grade. This year will be the first time that potters will be selling their creations at one location as they will be honoring Richard Gillson who has been one of the greatest visionary potters in Seagrove.