The Seagrove area is one of the largest communities of potters with the longest continual history of pottery making in the United States. Today visitors can explore the rural landscape by back roads and visit the potters in their workshops and studios, to witness the Seagrove potters continuing the tradition of making pots. The area is home to more than 100 potters who offer a full spectrum of pottery and ceramic art. With a diversity of talents, Seagrove has something to offer both the serious collector and the casual buyer. The Seagrove area offers the visitor an opportunity to learn about North Carolina's ongoing pottery culture.
The ceramic history of the area begins with the abundant and diverse natural clay deposits found in the vicinity. Native Americans were first to discover this resource and used it for both functional and ceremonial objects. These ancient pieces are among the most important remaining artifacts of early civilization.
The Early Days
The first immigrant potters, mostly English and Germans, arrived in the latter half of the 18th century. Most came to our state from Pennsylvania and Virginia. Though information on these early immigrant potters is sketchy, they probably settled first in the areas closest to the Great Wagon Road, which ran from Pennsylvania to Georgia, and then migrated from there to the Seagrove area. Potters arriving in the Seagrove area in the 1700s were quick to realize the value of the local clay. They first made redware, some plain and some decorated, using clay that fired to a reddish orange color. By sometime in the first half of the 19th century, Seagrove area potters had switched predominantly to making the higher fired salt glazed stoneware
The building of the old Plank Road in the mid 19th century, and later the emerging railroad system, gave potters access to even wider markets and helped to establish Seagroves reputation as a pottery town. These pioneer farmer-potters forged new styles based on their skills and artistic visions, their surrounding natural resources, and the needs of their growing community. Today these early Seagrove area pots are gaining international attention as their value changes from that of utilitarian object to cultural treasure.
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