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Jerry Brown

Biography to Display: 

1942 Born Pine Springs, Alabama

2016 Died Tupelo, Mississippi


1962–1982 Logging Industry, Hamilton, Alabama

1983–2016 Owner/ Operator, Jerry Brown Pottery, Hamilton, Alabama


 Jerry Brown, 9th generation potter, is known for wheel thrown functional pottery including stoneware face jugs. Steeped in the southern pottery tradition, his glazes consist of Albany slip, Bristol and ash glazes, and traditional combination of cobalt stain and white glaze.

His father, Horace “Jug” Brown, moved the family to Lamar County, Alabama, opening a pottery shop in 1941. Brown learned how to work clay in his father’s studio. Throughout his professional career Brown created pottery using local stoneware clay from Hamilton Alabama.  

Throughout his career, Brown created his clay arts using local traditions. In his pottery shop wheels were powered by automobile engines, the local stoneware clay he dug was processed with his mule, Blue, using a “mule mill” (not to be confused with a pug mill or clay mixer), and his work was fired mainly using local wood to fuel his ground “hog kiln” to 2,350˚ F. Brown’s work can be found in museums and institutions. The pottery continues on as a family pottery (2017).


Public Collections to Display: 

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.


Bibliography to Display: 

Atkins, Leah Rawls, and E. Bryding Adams. Made in Alabama: A State Legacy. Birmingham, AL: Birmingham Museum of Art, 1995.

 Brackner, Joey. Alabama Folk Pottery. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2006.

 Burrison, John A. Brothers in Clay: The Story of Georgia Folk Pottery. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 2008.

 Congdon, Kristen G., and Kara Kelley Hallmark. American Folk Art: A Regional Reference. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2012.

 Crown, Carolyn, Cheryl Rivers, and Charles Reagan Wilson. The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 23.  Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

 George, Phyllis. Craft in America: Celebrating the Creative Work of the Hand. New York, NY: Summit Group, 1993.

 Hinson, Glenn, and Willian Ferris. The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 14: Folk Life. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

 Johnson, Cynthia J., and Betty-Carol Sellen. 20th Century American Folk, Self-Taught, and Outsider Art. Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman Press, 1993.  

 Martin, Gay N. Alabama: A Guide to Unique Places.  Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2002.

 Unbroken Tradition: Jerry Brown Pottery. 16mm, videotape, color, 28 minutes. Directed by Herb E. Smith. Whitesburg, KY: Appalshop Films, 1989.




Typical Marks
Face Jug
Date: 1997
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Ash Glaze
Judith and Martin Schwartz Collection
Photo: John Polak
Judith and Martin Schwartz Collection
Photo: John Polak
Coffee Canister
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Covered Jar
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: Jeffrey Kuratnick. "The Marks Project." Last modified June 30, 2023.