Vernon Owens is a native of Seagrove in Moore County, NC. His roots in pottery go back four to five generations.
Vernon grew up working in his father’s shop, M.L. Owens, absorbing the style and shapes. In the late 1950s, at the age of fifteen, he also worked for C.C. Cole. In 1960, John Mare, the owner of Jugtown Pottery, hired Vernon as the Jugtown thrower. Vernon continued at Jugtown Pottery through the ownership of Country Roads, Inc., a nonprofit corporation whose mission was the preservation of handcrafts. In 1983, Vernon bought Jugtown Pottery and married potter Pam Lorette. He currently lives, works and sells his pots with local product being the foundation of clay bodies and many of the glazes.
The main influences in Vernon’s pots come from the Moore County, North Carolina pottery tradition, (the utilitarian wares such as jugs, pitchers and churns made in the 19th century), and the art pottery era which began around 1917, from which classical vases and bowls from Korea, China and Japan became the inspiration. Vernon received a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1994. In 1996, he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Vernon received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from North Carolina State University in December of 2000. Vernon’s work can be found in museums and private collections.