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! 

Shearwater Pottery

City: Ocean Springs, MS
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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.

Table displaying pottery pieces
Family-run Shearwater Pottery offers distinctive pieces made from Mississippi clay. Image: Facebook

Vixon Sullivan

City: Hattiesburg, MS
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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.

Table displaying small pottery pieces
Pick up some pottery with a purpose with these everyday items from artist Vixon Sullivan. Image: Facebook

Pickenpaugh Pottery

City: Madison, MS
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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.

Clay flowers on display outside
Your garden just got even brighter! Image: Facebook

Wolfe Birds

City: Jackson, MS
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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.

Colorful clay birds
Mother Nature would be proud of these precious, unique figurines from Wolfe Birds. Image: Facebook

McCarty’s Pottery

City: Merigold, MS
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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.

Clay pieces on display on table
From a mule barn to an artistic legacy, McCarty’s Pottery has undoubtedly made a name for itself. Image: Facebook

Peter’s Pottery

City: Mound Bayou, MS
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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.

Two clay bowls
Peter’s Pottery carries on the family business through beautiful, functional pieces. Image: Facebook

Satterfield’s Pottery

City: Oxford, MS
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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.

Clay pieces on display on dining table
Peruse the colorful works of art at Satterfield’s Pottery. Image: Facebook

Etta B

City: Etta, MS
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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.

Small plates with bee design
Approachable, whimsical designs are the name of the game at Etta B. Image: Facebook

Fingerprint Pottery

City: Pontotoc, MS
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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.

Blue serving tray outside on rock
This unique pottery is genuinely one of a kind, thanks to the artists’ fingerprints! Image: Facebook

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! 

mississippi map
The Mississippi Pottery Trail is an excellent way for craft lovers to see the state and meet some of its talented makers!

This article was made possible by Visit Mississippi


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About the Author
Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a Southern writer, Richmond native, and aspiring gardener. She loves small-town travel and homemade lattes.