It's Just Dirt: The Historic Art Potteries of North Carolona's Seagrove Region (paperback)

Author(s): Stephen Compton

ISBN: 9781634990172
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Located near the geographic heart of North Carolina, Seagrove is known as the pottery town. Though not the only place where pottery has been made in the state, when you say Seagrove to people, they suspect that you’re talking about pottery. From its modest 18th century beginnings with a few Quaker potters from Pennsylvania and Nantucket, the Seagrove region today hosts more than one hundred potters. This is its history.
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Before retiring in 2013, Neolia Cole, the eighty-six year old daughter of potter Arthur Ray Cole, was first to arrive and last to leave the Cole’s Pottery shop. She possesses the indomitable spirit that has kept a Cole in pottery-making for more than two centuries.

Once when asked how much pottery was produced by Cole’s Pottery in a year’s time, Neolia answered by saying instead how much income a year’s sales represented. Despite the fact that Cole’s Pottery charged very little for the wares made there, the annual sum collected in a year was considerable. Wielding a sly grin, Neolia unashamedly conceded, “And it’s just dirt!”

In a way, pottery is just dirt. But collectors and lovers of the art form know that much more than dirt contributed to the incomparable successes of North Carolina’s early twentieth-century art potteries. It’s a success story marked by adaptation, innovation, collaboration, and immensely hard work – a legacy that endures today.

BOOK ISBN 9781634990172
FORMAT 248 x 226 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 160 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 15 March 2017
TERRITORY World
ILLUSTRATIONS 753 color photographs






Stephen Compton is an avid collector of mid-18th to mid-20th century North Carolina pottery. Steve has written numerous articles and books about it, including, North Carolina Pottery: Earthenware, Stoneware, and Fancyware (Collector Books, 2011), and Seagrove Potteries Through Time (Fonthill Media, 2013). Widely recognized for his expertise, he is frequently called upon to be a lecturer and exhibit curator. He once served as president of the North Carolina Pottery Center, a museum and educational center located in Seagrove, NC, and is a founding organizer of the North Carolina Pottery Collectors’ Guild. Steve resides with his wife in Raleigh, NC.


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