Brown’s Pottery an Alabama Maker with a national legacy

Brown’s Pottery an Alabama Maker with a national legacy
Jerry Brown's work is preserved in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. (contributed)

Brown’s Pottery (Hamilton)

The Maker: Jeff Wilburn and Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown loves to tell the story of Jerry Brown — not just because she was married to him, but because he loved people and loved making pottery.

“He loved it,” she said. “He loved every minute of it, coming over here and doing faces and coming up with things to do. It was his life.”

Jerry Brown died in 2016, but Sandra and her son, Jeff Wilburn, are keeping Jerry’s legacy alive at their family studio in Hamilton, a place Jerry put on the national map in 1992 when he was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship. Samples of his work, including his signature face jugs, are preserved in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

“I’ve had a lot of people come in here and say they’ve seen it,” she said.

Jerry Brown’s Pottery draws thousands to Hamilton from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Jerry Brown, a ninth-generation potter, used the exposure to launch the Jerry Brown Arts Festival in 2003, a free festival held the first weekend in March each year in Hamilton to highlight artists from around the Southeast and support arts education. Now in its 17th year, the festival has been named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, drawing thousands of people from around the country.

Sandra says the people Jerry met is what he enjoyed most about his work.

“He loved people,” she said. “He loved being around people, telling them jokes and making them laugh.”

Sandra says her son, Jeff, does most of the work now, although she still helps with finishing and glazing. They make a variety of bowls, pitchers, cups and mugs, but one of their biggest sellers is a bacon cooker.

“If they ever buy one, they come back and buy more for gifts,” said said. “They love it.”

Brown’s Pottery

The product: bowls, pitchers, cups, mugs, soup bowls

Take home: Bacon cooker ($40-$60).

Brown’s Pottery can be found online and on Facebook.

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