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The groundhog kilns in use at Jugtown Pottery are original to the site, except for replacement of damaged bricks. The Owens family digs and processes the clay used for Jugtown wares. Jugtown history dates back to the 1920s, when a business-savvy power couple, Juliana and Jacques Busbee of Raleigh, sought to keep the clay-throwing industry alive. It had taken a hit by the emerging production of glassware, and the prohibition of alcohol (no more need for whiskey jugs). The Busbees helped keep North Carolina potters in business by selling their wares in their tea room in Greenwich Village, New York, beginning in 1917. As patrons bought more pieces from craftsmen who had their own wheels, business thrived. In 1922 the Busbees moved to Moore County and founded Jugtown Pottery. Seeing the wisdom of strength in numbers, other potters joined them. Among them were J.H. Owen, Charlie Teague and Ben Owen Sr. J.H. Owen was an early proponent of equality, encouraging his wife and daughters to participate in the industry prior to his death in 1923. His wife, Martha Scott Owen, and their daughters were known for making animal-inspired clay forms. The work gave the women a little money of their own at a time when that was not common. Ben Owen Sr. was the most prolific Jugtown potter, working for nearly four decades employing the standards set by Jacques Busbee. Those are standards the current owners and distant Owen family members uphold. november 2015 30 WBM


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