One of the oldest continually operating ceramics facilities in the country, Pewabic Pottery was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry (Stratton), an artist and educator, and Horace J. Caulkins, a dental supplier and kiln manufacturer. Pewabic became a leader of the Arts and Crafts movement in Detroit during a time that was both a golden age for handcrafted pottery and tile and a boom in industrialization with the birth of the automotive industry.
The pottery started out in a carriage house in Detroit’s Brush Park neighborhood. Quickly outgrowing this “Stable Studio,” renowned architect William Buck Stratton was hired to design the pottery studio on Detroit's East Side, which is still in use today. Production moved into this building in 1907.
Demand for Pewabic grew thanks to its stunning iridescent glazes and inspiring architectural tile installations throughout southeast Michigan and across the country. Generations have been enriched by the Pewabic art and tile adorning homes, schools, churches, and public institutions, cementing Pewabic into the rich cultural fabric of Detroit.
Mary oversaw operation of the pottery until her death at the age of 94. The pottery was gifted to Michigan State University in 1965 and used for its ceramics education program. The Pewabic Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, took ownership of the pottery in 1981 and continues its rich legacy of ceramic design and education to this day.
Generations of dedicated employees and community members have helped the pottery thrive for over a century. We continue to be guided by a singular mission: to enrich the human spirit through clay.
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