The Potter's Eye

Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery

By Mark Hewitt, Nancy Sweezy

Photography by Jason Dowdle

The Potter's Eye

296 pp., 9 x 11, 235 color illus., 1 map, notes, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8078-2992-9
    Published: October 2005

Buy this Book

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit

Awards & distinctions

2005 Mary Ellen LoPresti Award, Art Libraries Society of North America, Southeast Chapter

Classic North Carolina stoneware pots--with their rich textures, monochromatic glazes, and minimal decoration--belong to one of America's most revered stoneware pottery traditions. In a lavishly illustrated celebration of that tradition, Mark Hewitt and Nancy Sweezy trace the history of North Carolina pottery from the nineteenth century to the present day. They demonstrate the intriguing historic and aesthetic relationships that link pots produced in North Carolina to pottery traditions in Europe and Asia, in New England, and in the neighboring state of South Carolina.

With hundreds of color photographs highlighting the shapes and surfaces of carefully selected pots, The Potter's Eye honors the keen focus vernacular potters bring to their materials, tools, techniques, and history. It is an evocative guide for anyone interested in the art of North Carolina pottery and the aesthetic majesty of this resilient and long-standing tradition.

Published for the North Carolina Museum of Art

About the Authors

Mark Hewitt, a British potter who lives and works in Pittsboro, North Carolina, is the author of numerous articles about potters and pottery. His own work has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, Ceramics Monthly, American Craft, and other publications.
For more information about Mark Hewitt, visit the Author Page.

Nancy Sweezy, potter and former director of Jugtown Pottery in Seagrove, North Carolina, is the author of Raised in Clay: The Southern Pottery Tradition.
For more information about Nancy Sweezy, visit the Author Page.


“More than an exhibition catalog; it is a collaborative work of art."--Western Folklore

"This exciting work succeeds in its mission to 'signal and celebrate the artistry of North Carolina's greatest production potters,' but this work has accomplished much more--it has challenged and tutored scholars and collectors to view the stoneware of North Carolina with a potter's eye."--Journal of Folklore Research

"Perry and her coterie of authors provide expert introductions to the state's pottery as a whole and to the significant benchmarks of its cultural history. . . . Jason Dowdle created special photography for The Potter's Eye that examines the form and surfaces of each pot in ways not previously expressed in books on ceramics history. This volume is worth owning for its visual beauty alone."--Winterthur Portfolio

"Exquisitely illustrated. . . . [with] incredibly detailed surface shots."--Ceramics Monthly

"A handsome heavy book, thanks largely to Jason Dowdle's gorgeous photographs. . . . The writing is poetic, persuasive, and at times, almost polemical."--North Carolina Historical Review

"[Hewitt's] critical evaluation eloquently makes a link between the very old and the new and in doing so rejuvenates our 'eye' and inspires us to view the work of the North Carolina stoneware tradition in a new light. . . . Hewitt introduces the reader to a new vocabulary of expression and technical insight, a grounding which well prepares and informs our senses for the Nancy Sweezy interviews with six contemporary North Carolina potters who continue to turn and burn. . . .The many powerful, full page, color photographs of the exhibits taken by Jason Dowdle . . . immediately grasp our attention."--The Log Book