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Walter Benjamin Stephen

Biography to Display: 

1875 Born Clinton, Iowa

1961 Died Asheville, North Carolina

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1904-1913 Potter Nonconnah Pottery, Memphis Tennessee

1914 Potter Nonconnah Pottery, Skyland, North Carolina

1926-1961 Potter Pisgah Forest Pottery

 

Walter Stephen is best known for creating cameo ware, a unique line of functional pottery with painted layers of porcelain on stoneware. Similar to Wedgewood Jasperware, Stephen depicted subject matter drawn from his youth of American folklife: spinning wheels, fiddlers, log cabins, ox-drawn covered wagons, etc.. Stephen was also known for the crystalline glazes he developed and used. He is credited with being the first to use crystalline glazes in the southeast.

Inspired by the Arts and Craft Movement, Stephen’s first pottery was made in his twenties. He worked with his mother, artist Nellie Randal Stephen and together they founded Nonconnah Pottery. When his parents died in 1910, he closed the pottery, and eventually, with the help of others, established Pisgah Forest Pottery in 1926. The pottery closed in 2014 after the death of Thomas Case, Stephen’s step-grandson.

Walter Stephen was mentored in North Carolina by Oscar Bachelder.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

American Museum of  Ceramic Art, AMOCA, Pomona, California

Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee

The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, North Carolina

Southern Highland Craft Guild, Asheville, North Carolina

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Leftwich, Rodney Henderson. Pisgah Forest and Nonconnah: The Potteries of Walter B. Stephen. Bradenton FL, 2006.

 

 

 

 

the center for craft, creativity & design This research was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, Inc.
   
southern highland craft guild The Archive of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

 

Typical Marks
ca 1905-1910
1915
1929
1940
1943
1946
1948
1949
1950
Large Vase with Landscape
Date: ca 1905-1910
Form: Vase
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Cameo Vase
Date: 1915
Form: Vase
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Sprig, Stain
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Vase
Date: 1929
Form: Vase
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Cast
Surface Technique: Glaze
American Museum of Ceramic Art, AMOCA, 2016.24.9, gift of American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
American Museum of Ceramic Art, AMOCA, 2016.24.9, gift of American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Plate
Date: 1934
Form: Plate
Materials: Stoneware
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1794, gift of multiple donors
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1794, gift of multiple donors
Vase
Date: 1939
Form: Vase
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Crystalline Glaze
The Mint Museum, 1977.196.5, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
The Mint Museum, 1977.196.5, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
Woman with a Spinning Wheel
Date: 1940
Form: Mug
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Bowl
Date: 1940
Form: Bowl
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Mint Museum,1989.49.54
The Mint Museum,1989.49.54
Teapot
Date: 1943
Form: Teapot
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Crystalline Glaze
The Mint Museum, H1981.137.1a-b, gift of Mrs Margaret Mourot
The Mint Museum, H1981.137.1a-b, gift of Mrs Margaret Mourot
Bowl
Date: 1946
Form: Vessel
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Cast
Surface Technique: Crackle Glaze
American Museum of Ceramic Art, AMOCA, 2016.24.8, gift of American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
American Museum of Ceramic Art, AMOCA, 2016.24.8, gift of American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Jug
Date: 1948
Form: Jug
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Vase
Date: 1949
Form: Vase
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Southern Highland Craft Guild Collection
Photo: Southern Highland Craft Guild
Southern Highland Craft Guild Collection
Photo: Southern Highland Craft Guild
Fiddler Motif Mug
Date: 1950
Form: Mug
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
The Mint Museum, 1977.196.8, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
The Mint Museum, 1977.196.8, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
Pedestal Bowl
Date: 1950
Form: Bowl
Materials: Stoneware, Porcelain
Method: Thrown, Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Westward Ho Mug
Date: 1951
Form: Mug
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1823, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1823, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
Mug
Date: 1952
Form: Mug
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
The Mint Museum, 1977.196.7, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
The Mint Museum, 1977.196.7, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
Westward Ho Pitcher
Date: 1952
Form: Pitcher
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
The Mint Museum, H1977.196.3, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
The Mint Museum, H1977.196.3, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
Fiddler and the Dog and Westward Ho Bowl
Date: 1959
Form: Bowl
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1822, gift of multiple donors
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1822, gift of multiple donors
Westward Ho Sugar Bowl
Date: 1959
Form: Sugar Bowl
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
The Mint Museum, H1977.196.4A-B, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
The Mint Museum, H1977.196.4A-B, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection
Scene with Horses and Riders
Form: Pitcher
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Vase
Form: Vase
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1787, gift of multiple donors
The Mint Museum, H1983.190.1787, gift of multiple donors

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified June 5, 2018. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/stephen