Located on Jefferson Avenue across from Waterworks Park, close to Indian Village, the Pewabic building, as well as the Pottery is a National Historic Landmark.
Founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry Stratton, Pewabic Pottery’s first home was a stable on Alfred Street in Detroit. Four years later, it moved to the current Tudor Revival-style facility on Jefferson. Under Stratton’s direction, the Pottery produced nationally renowned vessels, tiles and architectural ornamentation for both public and private institutions and facilities.
Stratton was a founding member of the Detroit Arts & Crafts Society, and later a trustee of what is currently the Detroit Institute of Arts. She started the ceramics department at the University of Michigan and taught at Wayne State University, receiving honorary degrees from both. She also was awarded the Charles Fergus Binns Medal, the nation’s highest award in ceramics.
Today, the Pottery is owned and operated by the private non-profit Pewabic Society, which develops and administers numerous education, exhibition, museum and design/fabrication programs. The Pottery is also renowned for the unique glazes used on the pieces produced there. Over 70,000 people visit the facility annually.
Works from Pewabic Pottery can be seen all around the country. The Nebraska Capitol, the Science building at Rice University in Houston, the Herald Square installation at New York’s Metro Transit Authority and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. are just a few examples. In Detroit, numerous churches, schools and commercial buildings – the Guardian Building, Metropolitan Airport’s McNamara Terminal, Comerica Park, the People Mover stations, the Detroit Public Library, etc. – have significant installations from the Pottery, as well as countless private residences in the metropolitan area.
Along with the numerous classes held year-around, there are many events, exhibits and tours available, in addition to in-house consultants who provide services to architects and interior designers. The Museum Store features a wide range of interesting pieces that can be seen, and purchased, on-site. Prices are extremely reasonable.
A visit to Pewabic is definitely worthwhile, as it’s a great example of the renowned Detroit arts community. Check out the website for hours and info: www.pewabic.com
Contributing writer, and native Detroiter, Bob Evans is president of Iconix Inc., an Auburn Hills, MI-based design communications company.