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Jugtown Pottery 1917-2017: A Century of Art & Craft in Clay

Stephen C. Compton

John F. Blair, Publisher
$35.00 hardcover
9.5 x 8.5    
204 pages
150 black-and-white and color photos
June 2017

A century ago, a modestly successful Raleigh portrait and landscape painter named Jacques Busbee arrived by train in Seagrove, North Carolina, not knowing that his future, and the history of pottery-making in the state, was about to change forever. 

 Jugtown Pottery 1917-2017 tells the entire story of the founding and success of his and Juliana Royster Busbee’s remarkable folkcraft enterprise. The author’s in-depth research leaves no stone unturned when describing how this improbable venture in a most unlikely setting left its indelible mark on a remote Southern community.

 Fully illustrated with numerous black-and-white and color photographs of the place, the people who made pottery there, and the pottery produced by them, the book tells how the Busbees convinced a few of rural Moore County’s old-time utilitarian potters to make new-fangled wares for them to sell in Juliana’s Greenwich Village tea room and shop. Following New Yorkers’ wild acceptance of their primitive-looking and alluring pottery offerings, the Busbees built their own workshop and employed their own potters for pottery-making in out-of-the-way Moore County, and called it Jugtown. The shop’s success spurred the creation and advancement of dozens more art potteries in the region with now well-known names like J. B. Cole Pottery, North State Pottery, A. R. Cole Pottery, and Auman Pottery. Today, nearly one hundred potters make and sell their wares within a few miles of Jugtown—all because a hundred years ago, the Busbees and their Jugtown potters found a new way to make old jugs.



Jugtown Pottery 1917-2017: A Century of Art and Craft in Clay is a long-awaited history of North Carolina’s celebrated Jugtown community.  Stephen Compton describes how Jacques and Juliana Royster Busbee encouraged local potters and marketed their work in Juliana’s Greenwich Village tea room and shop. Compton’s fine book clearly shows why the potters and their work are truly national treasures.
– William Ferris, author of The South in Color: A Visual Journal

A comprehensive and fascinating read, this book is the result of scholarly research, of sifting and sorting through hundreds of letters, documents, and articles.  Compton thoroughly covers the early years and brings the reader up to the one-hundred- year celebration of Jugtown Pottery.  All eras of the pottery are covered and all of the participants come to life in this fascinating account. 
– Pamela Owens, co-owner of Jugtown Pottery.

Pottery conveys more than just objets d’art.  It is a living, tangible craft that speaks to the rich, enduring legacies of history, tradition, and cultural heritage.  Compton brings to life the history of Jugtown Pottery as skillfully as those original potters who created the wares for the “Busbee vision” and the Owens family that continues to build upon this aesthetic today. 
– Michael  A. Ausbon, Decorative Arts Curator, North Carolina Museum of History

Steve's book is a well researched and in-depth look at the history of Jugtown over the past one hundred years, but it is also much more than that... Steve tells the story of Jugtown and its people, past and present, in an easily readable way that draws you in and almost makes you feel like part of the story, and the story of Jugtown is one that is tremendously important for if it weren't for the Busbee's and their development of Jugtown, North Carolina pottery as we know it today would almost certainly be very different, and perhaps not as prominent.
– Lindsey Lambert, Executive Director of the NC Pottery Center