Pewabic Pottery – Detroit Michigan

Pewabic Pottery, 1903 to 1961 and Later

What eventually became the Pewabic Pottery was started as an informal workshop by Mary Chase Perry (born 1867, died 1961) and Horace Caulkins in Detroit, Michigan, circa 1903. Mary was one of many influential potters who studied at the New York State School of Clay-Working and Ceramics (now Alfred University) with Charles Fergus “Daddy” Binns, the school’s director, commonly referred to as “The Father of American Studio Ceramics”.

By 1906 the workshop had received sufficient recognition and success that a new pottery works was built and the operation was named the Pewabic Pottery. Its pottery was noted for its decorative ceramic tile, art ware and vases using an iridescent glaze developed by Mary Perry. Eventually there were six of these special glazes – blue, gold, green, ruby, violet and yellow.

The Pewabic Pottery used both an impressed mark (usually PEWABIC DETROIT in a circle) and a paper label. It is typical for the pottery’s heavy glaze to partially obscure the impressed mark. Early pieces were also incised MCP (Mary Chase Perry) and WBS (William Buck Stratton, to whom Mary was married in 1918). The pottery continued in operation until Perry’s death in 1961. Several revivals have occurred since that date under the auspices of Michigan State University and the “Pewabic Society”. And as of 2011, is a non-profit ceramic design studio, education center and National Historic Landmark.

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