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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

BIOGRAPHY

Walter Stephen is best known for creating cameo ware, a unique line of functional pottery with painted layers of porcelain on stoneware.

Stephen's work is reminiscent of Wedgewood Jasperware. The imagary on his work depicts subject matter drawn from his youth and American folklife: spinning wheels, fiddlers, log cabins, and ox-drawn covered wagons.  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.  He closed the pottery when his parents died in 1910, 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

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.

 

 

 

Center for CraftSouthern Highland Craft Guild

 

 

Center for CraftCenter For Craft

 

 

AMOCA American Museum of Ceramic ArtAMOCA American Museum of Ceramic Art

 

Typical Marks
ca 1905-1910
1915
1929
1940
1943
1946
1948
The Permanent Collection of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
The Permanent Collection of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
1949
1950
Large Vase with Landscape
Date: ca 1905-1910
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee, 2013.1
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee, 2013.1
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Photo: Courtesy Rodney H. Leftwich
Cameo Vase
Date: 1915
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
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Cast
Surface Technique: Glaze
American Museum of Ceramic Art, gift of The American Ceramic Society, 2016.24.9
Photo: TMP
American Museum of Ceramic Art, gift of The American Ceramic Society, 2016.24.9
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Plate
Date: 1934
Materials: Stoneware
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mint Museum, gift of multiple donors, H1983.190.1794
Mint Museum, gift of multiple donors, H1983.190.1794
Vase
Date: 1939
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 7.3 X 4.8 inches
Surface Technique: Crystalline Glaze
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.5
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.5
Woman with a Spinning Wheel
Date: 1940
Form: Mug
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Bowl
Date: 1940
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 3.1 X 4.1 inches
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mint Museum, 1989.49.54
Mint Museum, 1989.49.54
Teapot
Date: 1943
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Crystalline Glaze
Mint Museum, gift of Mrs. Margaret Mourot, H1981.137.1a-b
Mint Museum, gift of Mrs. Margaret Mourot, H1981.137.1a-b
Bowl
Date: 1946
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Cast
Surface Technique: Crackle Glaze
American Museum of Ceramic Art, gift of The American Ceramic Society, 2016.24.8
Photo: TMP
American Museum of Ceramic Art, gift of The American Ceramic Society, 2016.24.8
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Jug
Date: 1948
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Vase
Date: 1949
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
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, 1977.196.8
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, 1977.196.8
Pedestal Bowl
Date: 1950
Materials: Porcelain, Stoneware
Method: Thrown, Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Westward Ho Mug
Date: 1951
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection,  H1983.190.1823
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1983.190.1823
Mug
Date: 1952
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 3.5 X 4.5 inches
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.7
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.7
Westward Ho Pitcher
Date: 1952
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 3.8 X 5 inches
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.3
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.3
Fiddler and the Dog and Westward Ho Bowl
Date: 1959
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Mint Museum, gift of multiple donors, H1983.190.1822
Mint Museum, gift of multiple donors, H1983.190.1822
Westward Ho Sugar Bowl
Date: 1959
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.4A-B
Mint Museum, Daisy Wade Bridges Collection, H1977.196.4A-B
Scene with Horses and Riders
Form: Pitcher
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze, Sprig
Vase
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 7 X 4.6 inches
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mint Museum, gift of multiple donors, H1983.190.1787
Mint Museum, gift of multiple donors, H1983.190.1787

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified July 21, 2023. http://www.themarksproject.org/marks/stephen