The Mississippi Pottery Trail is a fascinating exploration of the range of art available in the Magnolia State. Inspired by the unique texture and quality of the Delta clay, potters in Mississippi are exploring everything from fine art to elevated everyday home goods.
Whether you want to grab your girlfriends and hit a few spots in a day or plan a multi-day road trip, following the Pottery Trail is a unique way to experience Mississippi and learn about the talented people who call it home. We’re sharing nine fabulous stops, starting on the Gulf Coast in Ocean Springs, heading north through Hattiesburg, then over to Oxford, and ending in Pontotoc.
To see an overview of the trail, check out our map at the end of the article!
City: Ocean Springs, MS
More info: shearwaterpottery.com
Founded in 1928 by Peter Anderson of the Peter Anderson Arts & Craft Festival, Shearwater Pottery features pieces made from ball clay (used to create cast pieces that are hand painted or originally decorated) and buff-bodied clay. Buff-bodied clay is the local Mississippi clay, often used for thrown pieces glazed with a distinctive Shearwater glaze. Today, the studio is still run by the Anderson family, with three of Peter’s children creating some of the pottery you’ll see when you visit.
City: Hattiesburg, MS
More info: vixonsullivan.com
Vixon Sullivan, who has been featured on Hometown, creates stunning works of art that are often functional as everyday pieces. You can pick up a pair of magnolia earrings, a succulent box, or a striking glazed espresso mug. Every detail in these handmade pieces feels special, and his pieces are refreshingly relevant. Sullivan shows that pottery has a place in daily life, and he’s leading the next generation with his work.
City: Madison, MS
More info: instagram.com/pickenpaughpottery
For over 40 years, Pickenpaugh Pottery has been crafting charming pottery that shows off the natural world’s most vibrant colors and whimsical shapes. Bouquets of friendly flowers, quirky mushrooms, and darling butterflies fill their gallery of handcrafted pieces. Many of their designs are made to be used indoors or out, so you can decorate your garden with flowers that don’t require a green thumb.
City: Jackson, MS
More info: wolfebirds.com
Wolfe Birds is known for their namesake birds — charming, rounded figurines in a gorgeous range of colors that rival those you’d find from Mother Nature herself. Amidst the flock, you’ll also come across nativity figures, fish, sheep, cats, rams, and lambs. These small slip-cast figurines are each unique, and the molds were originally designed by Elizabeth (Bebe) Wolfe, who took over the studio from her parents. The studio has boasted some of the most talented Mississippi potters since 1946, and collectors eagerly seek these distinctly different pieces.
City: Merigold, MS
More info: mccartyspottery.com
In 1954, Lee and Pup McCarty were given an offer to take over a mule barn, and they did. The two moved a kiln into the space and started what is now an internationally known and respected pottery studio. They’ve shown worldwide, including a three-week tour in Japan, and McCarty’s Pottery was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. McCarty’s signature glaze colors include nutmeg brown, cobalt blue, and jade, and most of their functional pieces, like dinnerware, platters, casserole dishes, and planters, feature a signature wavy black line. This is a nod to their home — it’s the Mississippi River in its most abstract form. Lee and Pup have passed away, but their legacy continues at McCarty’s through their fine art and functional pottery.
City: Mound Bayou, MS
More info: peterspottery.art
Peter’s Pottery considers pottery to be one of the many great things that have risen out of the Mississippi mud. This special studio turned the rich clay mud into eye-catching, functional items, including bowls, candlesticks, tableware, lamps, and artful, detailed sculptural pieces. Their signature colors are Dogwood Brown, Dirty Jade, Bayou Blue, and Cotton White. Each piece is unique, showing the talent and skill that goes into every line and curve. Founded by the Woods Brothers in 1998, Peter’s Pottery remains a family business today.
City: Oxford, MS
More info: satterfieldpottery.com
Michael Satterfield is not only creating striking works of art, but he’s also a ceramic artist and instructor for the Oxford School District, inspiring the next generation of ceramicists. His work spans functional items like dinnerware, mugs, olive oil and vinegar cruets, and cups that feature animals and religious imagery. Not afraid of a vibrant glaze, he works in the natural, serene colors of the environment surrounding him and in rich reds, cobalt blues, and other unexpectedly brilliant hues.
City: Etta, MS
More info: ettabpottery.com
With colors named Matcha Leaf, Hydrangea, and Magnolia, it’s no surprise Etta B is making pottery that feels welcoming and approachable for every day. The whimsical designs are seasonal and fun, capturing everyone’s favorite motifs, like football, sunflowers, and pumpkins for fall. These are pieces you’ll be excited to pick up for entertaining, or that will become your go-to shower gift.
City: Pontotoc, MS
More info: fingerprintpottery.com
Fingerprint Pottery is instantly recognizable for the touch of its potters’ hands on every piece. Whether it’s the iconic fingerprints dotting the sides of a tray or the long drags of a finger creating texture on an angel’s wings, these pieces carry the soul of the artists who create them. Each signature piece has the warmth and care of a skilled potter, which is precisely why these stunning works are so sought after.
If you want to see more from some of these featured potters (and other artists across Mississippi and the South), mark your calendar for the 2023 Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival. The festival is held annually in Ocean Springs from Saturday, November 4, through Sunday, November 5.
Check out the route!
This article was made possible by Visit Mississippi.
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