Vernon Owens is a native of Seagrove in Moore County and his roots in pottery go back four to five generations.
Vernon grew up working in the shop of M.L. Owens, his father, absorbing the style and shapes. In the late 1950's, at the age of fifteen, he went to work for C.C. Cole as well. In 1960, John Mare, the owner of Jugtown Pottery then, 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 hand crafts. In 1983 Vernon bought the pottery and married potter Pam Lorette. He currently lives, works and sells his pots at Jugtown Pottery. As always local clay is the foundation of clay bodies and many of the glazes at Jugtown Pottery.
The main influences in Vernon's pots come from the Moore County, the NC pottery tradition, (the utilitarian wares such as jugs, pitchers and churns made in the 19 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 NC 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. Vernonís work can be found in museums and private collections.
Vernon Owens is featured in the Origins episode of Craft in America.