Object Lessons: Ceramics from the Gregg Museum of Art & Design

Many artists draw upon ideas of place; ceramic artists reach down and literally scoop it up. In the late eighteenth century, settlers in North Carolina’s Piedmont region and the hilly country beyond found good pottery clays beneath their feet. Soon there was more than one “Jugtown” specializing in making utilitarian wares, and many farms had a pottery workshop and a wood-fired kiln.

Clay technology was essential to the daily needs of rural life—from household necessities such as mugs, pitchers, plates, crocks, and teapots, to objects not often associated with ceramics, such as grave markers, downspouts, fountains, and whistles. Traditional craft practices and aesthetic preferences developed over the years, and cultural and social needs, markets, methods, and makers all substantially changed. As generations of makers adapted and persisted, many ceramic objects began to move off the kitchen counter and dinner table to the mantle and the museum case.

Object Lessons: Ceramics from the Gregg Museum of Art & Design presents work mostly made in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries that shows how contemporary ceramics makers both draw upon and break with their craft’s traditions. Driven by talent, work ethic, and the energy of experimentation, these potters honor and interpret their past while reflecting their present moment.



Monday, January 9, 2017 to Sunday, August 20, 2017


Other Information

Extended through Sunday, August 20th. This exhibition originated at the North Carolina Pottery Center in 2015. It was curated by Charlotte Wainwright, founding director of the Gregg Museum, at the invitation of the Center’s Executive Director, Lindsey Lambert. All work is from the Gregg Museum of Art & Design permanent collection. Photographs of the objects are by Jason Dowdle.


Free admission and open to the public. The gallery is open during normal library hours.

Directions and parking information: There is metered parking along Hillsborough Street. Please contact Molly Renda regarding special accessibility needs.