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Discovery a Pottery Paradise in Seagrove

Posted on 12/02/20

Quite simply, Seagrove and the uniquely named hamlets that surround it in rural Randolph County are the perfect places for anyone interested in pottery.

Far from being a mere collection of shops, Seagrove actually refers to a region of artisans that has made the area one of the nation’s largest communities of potters. Part of Seagrove’s allure lies in its singular history and high concentration of potters. The other part, especially for the uninitiated, lies in the experience itself.

The area’s famous future may have been preordained in the late 1700s when Colonial potters began to fashion earthenware goods – including jugs, crocks, pots, and storage jars – from the local red clay. But technology played its trump card with the rise of the American glass industry during the century that followed. By about 1900, pottery in the area and elsewhere had almost vanished.

Then, in 1920, a Raleigh eccentric named Juliana Busbee helped revive the art form by hiring locals to supply her establishment with handcrafted wares. Extinction was averted and a surge in demand in recent decades has brought the total number of resident craftspeople to more than 100.

Seagrove's signature event – the annual Seagrove Pottery Festival, held the weekend before Thanksgiving – has been a staple for more than 35 years. The largest pottery community in the U.S. comes together with traditional craftspeople to sell their wares during the two-day festival. And for the past decade, the Celebration of Seagrove Potters also takes place that weekend, including a Friday night gala. Then just as the weather warms, the Spring Pottery Tour, in mid-April, features more than 50 local potters hosting special events, offering studio tours, demonstrations, and selling their pottery.

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