Vernon Owens

He grew up working for his father, M.L. Owens. In the late 1950’s, at the age of fifteen, he went to work for C.C. Cole. In 1960, John Mare, the new owner of Jugtown Pottery, hired Vernon as the Jugtown turner. After Mare’s sudden death in 1962, Owens leased the pottery and kept it going until 1968 when it was sold to Country Roads, Inc. Vernon continued at Jugtown Pottery through the ownership of Country Roads, Inc., a nonprofit corporation whose mission was the preservation of hand crafts. He worked closely with the director, Nancy Sweezy, learning glazing and business techniques. In 1983 Country Roads, Inc. moved on to another project and Vernon bought the pottery. He married potter Pamela Lorette that same year.

Known for his graceful candle sticks, Vernon sells the majority of his pots at Jugtown, they can occasionally be seen at gallery shows and in museums. The main influences in Vernon’s pots come from the Moore County, NC pottery tradition, (the utilitarian wares such as jugs, pitchers and churns made in the 18 and 19th centuries), and the art pottery era which began around 1917, from which classical vases and bowls from Korea, China and Japan became the inspiration. Vernon received a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award from the NC Arts Council in 1994. In 1996 he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Vernon received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from North Carolina State University in December of 2000.

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