Have you ever heard of the Seagrove Owens? They’re world-famous potters – and my cousins! My mama is a great-great-granddaughter of Big John Chrisco and a great-granddaughter of Lockey Owen. Through direct descent or marriage, we’re related to just about every potter family of Seagrove.
Even more surprising? I didn’t know anything about these relations until after I was grown. My Grandpa Owens passed away long before I thought to ask him about his past. His family left Seagrove in the 1930s, settling in Wilmington before 1942. With this disconnect from the rest of the family, I never knew his daddy or his daddy’s daddy threw pottery – or that I had aunts, uncles, and cousins famous for their folk art. I never even knew to ask him if he had thrown pottery himself.
Since learning about my Owens family history, I’ve made a couple of trips up to Seagrove. Naturally, my favorite shop is the Original Owens Pottery. Opened in 1895, it is the oldest, continuously-operating pottery in North Carolina. They’re famous for their difficult-to-produce, fire-red glazed decorative pottery, though my favorite is the blue. Owner, Boyd Owens, is the most inviting guy you could ever meet. He makes me feel like I’m right at home every time I walk through the door.
Thanks to my Uncle Calvin, who purchased my first piece – and Boyd drawing me back in, I’ve become a pottery fanatic over the years. You can find Owens-made pottery throughout my home. I’m not lucky enough to own a Locky Owens piece, but I keep an eye out. Maybe one day, I’ll get to add some of his pottery to my collection. Fingers crossed.
Have you been to the Original Owens Pottery? If not, you’ve got to put it on your to-do list! From what I hear, the red glaze will eventually run out. You’re going to want to make that trip before it’s too late. 😉