Pewabic Pottery

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Pewabic Pottery Detroit MI.jpg
Location 10125 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates 42°21′40.92″N 82°58′54.02″W / 42.3613667°N 82.9816722°W / 42.3613667; -82.9816722Coordinates: 42°21′40.92″N 82°58′54.02″W / 42.3613667°N 82.9816722°W / 42.3613667; -82.9816722
Built 1908
Architect William B. Stratton; Baldwin, Frank D.
Architectural style Tudor Revival, Kentish Inn
Governing body State
NRHP Reference #


Pewabic Pottery
Area less than one acre
Built 1908
NRHP Reference # 71000430[1]
Added to NRHP September 03, 1971
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 03, 1971
Designated NHL December 04 1991[2]

Pewabic is a ceramic studio and school at 10125 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. Founded in 1903, the studio is known for its iridescent glazes, some of which grace notable buildings such as the Shedd Aquarium and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Pewabic Pottery is on display at notable galleries such as the Louvre. The pottery continues in operation today, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.

Origin and history[edit]

The pottery was founded in 1903 by the artist and teacher Mary Chase Perry Stratton and Horace James Caulkins, her partner.[3] Caulkins was considered a high-heat and kiln specialist, and developed the "Revelation kiln". Mary Perry Stratton was "the artistic and marketing force."[4] The collaboration of two and their blend of art and technology gave the pottery its distinctive qualities as Detroit's contribution to the International Arts and Crafts movement and exemplified the American Craftsman Style.[5]

The word Pewabic is derived from the Ojibwa (or Chippewa) word for the color of copper metal (or perhaps the clay from which copper came) and specifically referring to the "Pewabic" Upper Peninsula copper mine where Ms. Stratton walked with her father. It refers to the unusual iridescent glaze covering the pottery and tiles created in a manner outlined by the International Arts and Crafts movement.[6][7] Compare,[8][clarification needed]

In 1991, Pewabic Pottery was designated as a National Historic Landmark. See also, List of National Historic Landmarks in Michigan. As Michigan's only historic pottery, the center continues to operate in a 1907 Tudor Revival building as a non-profit educational institution. They offer classes in ceramics, hold exhibitions, sell pottery made in house and offer design and fabrication services.

Museum and galleries[edit]

The museum's exhibits focus on the company's role in the history of Detroit, the Arts and Crafts movement in America and the development of ceramic art in the country. The galleries also showcase new works by modern ceramic artists.

Famous works[edit]

Pewabic Pottery produces many kinds of hand made decorative objects. They are part of the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Freer Gallery of Art[9] and the Louvre in Paris.[10] Examples abound in the External Links hereafter.

Architectural pieces have been a staple in Pewabic's history. Under Mary Stratton's leadership, Pewabic Pottery created lamps, vessels, and architectural tiles. They were known for their iridescent (like an oil slick with an incredible translucent quality and a phantasmagoric depth of color) glazes. Architectural tiles were used in aquaria, churches, concert halls, fountains, libraries, museums, schools and public buildings. The studio's work graces numerous edifices throughout Michigan and the rest of the United States. Noteworthy examples include the Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln, the Herald Square in New York, Science Building at Rice University in Houston, Texas,[11] and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Illinois.[9] Detailed maps of public installations in the Detroit Metropolitan Area and the U.S.A. are available.[12] See Architectural tile infra.

Particularly notable was her work at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., consisting of arches outlined with iridescent Pewabic tile, huge ceramic medallions set in the ceiling, and fourteen Stations of the Cross for the crypt.[10]

Architectural tile[edit]

Pewabic Pottery in 1991

Pewabic tile was (and continues to be) in great demand in Detroit and the southeastern Michigan area for the use in buildings and it can be found in many of the area's finest structures.[13] These include:

Former Morton High School building, Richmond, Indiana

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Pewabic Pottery". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  3. ^ "National Park Service designation of Pewabic Pottery as National Historic Landmark". 
  4. ^ "Historian chronicles historic pottery.". 
  5. ^ "Brunk, Thomas W., Ph.D., Curator on Pewabic Pottery history and exhibit at Marshall Fredericks Museum.". 
  6. ^ a b "Nolan, Jenny, Pewabic tile, Detroit's art treasure Detroit News.". 
  7. ^ "Painting With Fire: Pewabic Vessels in the Margaret Watson Parker Collection (University of Michigan Art Museum).". 
  8. ^ a b "Child's history of Pewabic Pottery and Mary Stratton--Michigan Historical Museum." (PDF). 
  9. ^ a b "Craft in America, Mary Chase Perry Stratton.". 
  10. ^ a b "Nolan, Jenny, Pewabic tile, Detroit's art treasure. Detroit News.". 
  11. ^ a b "Commentary on Pewabic Pottery.". 
  12. ^ "See, maps and detailed lists of U.S. and Detroit metropolitan area architectural installations of Pewabic Pottery, Pewabic Pottery home page.". 
  13. ^ "Maps and detailed lists of U.S. and Detroit metropolitan area architectural installations of Pewabic Pottery, Pewabic Pottery home page.". 
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Map and list of Detroit cultural center installations". 
  15. ^ "City of Detroit Planning and Development Department on Charles Lang Freer house." (PDF). 
  16. ^ "Map and list of Cranbrook area installations". 
  17. ^ "Map and list of People Mover architectural installations". 
  18. ^ "Picture of People Mover Station, Pewabic Pottery home page". 
  19. ^ "English Inn history page". 
  20. ^ "Solanus Casey Center home page.". 
  21. ^ "Picture of Solanus Casey installation, Pewabic Pottery home page.". 
  22. ^ "Harper House description". 
  23. ^ "Bhaktivedanta Cultural Center". 
  24. ^ "Picture Maude Priest School, Pewabic Pottery home page". 
  25. ^ See
  26. ^ a b "Historian chronicles story of Pewabic Pottery.". 
  27. ^ "List and map of Detroit Metro area installations". 
  28. ^ "Picture, Oakland Family Services donor wall, Pewabic Pottery home page.". 
  29. ^ "List and maps of Detroit metro installations". 
  30. ^ a b "Picture, David Adamany Library installation Pewabic Pottery home page.". 
  31. ^ "Picture, wall murat at Merrill Palmer Institute, Pewabic Pottery home page.". 


  • Barrie, Dennis; Jeanie Huntley Bentley; Cynthia Newman Helms; Mary Chris Rospond, Artists in Michigan: 1900-1976. (Wayne State University Press, Detroit 1989). ISBN 0-8143-1907-6.
  • Brunk, Thomas W. "Ceramics in Michigan, 1886-1906" in The Arts and Crafts Movement in Michigan: 1886-1906. (Detroit, The Pewabic Society, Inc., 1986). ISBN 0-937885-00-2
  • Brunk, Colby, Jacobs et al., Arts and Crafts in Detroit 1906-1976: The Movement, The Society, The School. (Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit MI 1976).
  • Brunk, Thomas W., with Introduction by Marilyn L. Wheaton, Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum Exhibition Catalog, June 1 through September 29, 2007, Essay on Pewabic Pottery.[1][2]
  • Colby, Joy Hakanson, Art and a City: A History of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. (Wayne State University Press, Detroit MI, 1956). ISBN 0-686-87987-2.
  • Fisher, Marcy Heller and illustrated by Marjorie Hecht Simon, Fired Magic: Detroit's Pewabic Pottery Treasure. (Wayne State University Press, 2003). ISBN 0-8143-3143-2.
  • Gibson, Arthur Hopkin, Artists of Early Michigan: A Biographical Dictionary of Artists Native to or Active in Michigan, 1701-1900. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1975. ISBN 0-8143-1528-3.
  • Hill, Eric J., and John Gallagher, AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Architecture in Detroit. (Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI 2003). ISBN 0-8143-3120-3.
  • Karlson, Norman, The Encyclopedia of American Art Tiles, Volume 2, Region 3: Midwestern States. (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2005). ISBN 0-7643-2231-1 ISBN 978-0764322310.
  • Pear, Lillian Myers, The Pewabic Pottery: A History of its Products and its People. (Des Moines, Iowa, Wallace-Homestead: 1976). ISBN 0-87069-158-9.
  • Rago, David, Suzanne Sliker, and David Rudd, The Arts & Crafts Collector's Guide. (Salt Lake City, Utah, Gibbs Smith, 2005). ISBN 1-58685-052-0.
  • Savage, Rebecca Binno and Greg Kowalski. Art Deco in Detroit (Images of America). (Arcadia, 2004). ISBN 0-7385-3228-2.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "Product page for Exhibition Catalogue". 
  2. ^ "Brunk, Thomas W., Ph.D., Curator on Pewabic Pottery history and exhibit at Marshall Fredericks Museum.".