Pewabic Pottery

Closeup of pewabic station tiles

Detroit, Michigan

Founded by Mary Chase Perry Stratton, Pewabic has had a diverse history in ceramics.  Still in operation, its is one of three Arts & Crafts period potteries in the United States.

Pewabic Pottery Founded in 1903 during the height of the Arts & Crafts Movement in America, Pewabic Pottery is today a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Arts & Crafts ideals while advancing contemporary ceramic arts through its full curriculum of educational programs, its support of individual artists, outreach to various communities, and leadership in the exhibition of contemporary and historic collections and archiving of scholarly research.

This video from the Pewabic Pottery shows the showroom & parts of the production areas.

Pottery: It’s Everywhere

Written by Tim Zinkgraf

Wherein the WPA’s webmaster, Tim Zinkgraf, becomes the WPA’s intrepid reporter: Tim recently stumbled upon a pottery goldmine on the streets of Detroit! We thank him for this special report on Pewabic Pottery Tiles in Detroit’s PeopleMover train stations.

You never know where you’ll find pottery! While looking for information on Detroit and the North American International Auto Show, I was looking at the Detroit PeopleMover web site (Detroit’s elevated train) and something caught my eye.

The Cadillac Center Station with tiles from Pewabic.
The Cadillac Center Station with tiles from Pewabic.

I clicked on a link for one of the stations, which happened, to my surprise, to have tile from the Pewabic Pottery. The tile was in storage for a Stroh Brewery that was never built, Cadillac Center Station or station #11. The pictured to the right is from that station.

The following text is borrowed from the above web site: “All of the green tiles you see were actually made in 1935 by Mary Chase Stratton at Pewabic Pottery. The green tiles were commissioned by the Stroh family for a new brewery that eventually was never built. The tiles were put in storage until 1985 when Peter Stroh donated them for use in the Art in the Stations project.

The artist incorporated all of the green tiles into her design of archways with the end result being the beautiful murals you see now. All of the tiles inside of the archways are new tiles. However, the artist made these new tiles from historic molds that were made in 1926. In fact, the original workers tiles made from these molds were installed in Northern High School back in 1929.” As noted at the web site, this station was dedicated to tile maker Mary Chase Stratton.

The following text accompanies the tiles at Time Square Station or station #1 (picture to the right): “Good example of the historic murals created at Pewabic. Very art deco, but with a modern look. Art Deco is a style of art that was first popular in the early part of this century. Features bold colors and straight lines as well as simple curved lines in the design.

This piece also incorporates the turquoise colored tiles and historic glaze for which Pewabic is known. W. Hawkins Ferry, the person in whose honor this art piece is named, was a Detroit Architect, philanthropist, and a member of our Art in the Stations Commission.” Tom Phardel, Pewabic Pottery, (designed the Times Square Station tiles.)

Related Sites:

(The sites will open up in a new window)

The People Mover – Detroit’s elevated train system station guide.  Located at many of the stations are ceramic installation, including several related to Pewabic.  An interesting installation is the Cadillac Center station or #11 that uses Pewabic tile from 1935 that were intended to be used in a Stroh Brewery, but were never used. Other stations feature Pewabic or ceramic tiles