Pewabic Pottery

Detroit is known for Motown, Eminem, the automobile and Pewabic Pottery. Pewabic tiles can be found around the world. They are part of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, the National Shrine of the Immactulate Conception in Washington, D.C. and on display in the Louvre. Not to mention countless Detroit locations ranging from the Detroit Yacht Club to individual homes. The museum, production facility, education studio and shop was designated a national landmark in 1991 and tops my list of places to visit in Detroit.

The second floor of the 100+ year old building is a museum centered around the work of Pewabic’s founder, Mary Chase Perry Stratton. Stratton was a notable and progressive woman who challenged the norms of her day by actively pursuing a career in art. She began her career as an artist by doing china painting. The fine art captured her attention for many years; however, she eventually felt the desire to create not only a painting but the vessel itself. Stratton began molding clay and developed a coloring technique with an iridescent glaze that continues to be popular today.

Pewabic offers tours that allows individuals and families to see first hand the pottery making process. Visitors are taken behind the scenes to see each step of the process. The techniques used by Stratton have been updated slightly for ease of production; however, Pewabic products continue to be an artisan craft. It’s exciting to see the intricate process first hand and it really captured the attention of the two dozen children who were part of the tour.

Pewabic Pottery is a Detroit essential. Aunt Margaret bought us a tile a couple years ago and it’s one of my favorite things. Their more recent design of the downtown Detroit grid tops my want list. If you are visiting Detroit or a native, I highly recommend checking it out. Pewabic is open seven days a week till 6:00 p.m.

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