Southerner Meets Michigan: 7 Reasons To Visit Pewabic Pottery This Winter

Southerner Meets Michigan: 7 Reasons To Visit Pewabic Pottery This Winter
The Awesome Mitten: 7 Reasons To Visit Pewabic Pottery This Winter
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do this winter is fall victim to another Polar Vortex. Curling up at home with coffee and a blanket is fine and dandy (okay—it’s actually one of my very favorite things to do), but after a while, I’ve just got to get out and explore! Recently, I had Detroit on the brain and decided to check out Pewabic Pottery, a cultural and historical icon that’s as much a part of Detroit as Belle Isle or the auto show. Below, I share why Pewabic Pottery is the perfect cold-weather activity.

1. It Helps Cure Cabin Fever

Is hunkering down in your house not quite the winter refuge you expected? We’ve all been there. Throw on your snow boots and head to Jefferson Avenue for an afternoon that beats the cookie cutter movie outing. Of course, hiding out until spring is always an option, but I’d advise against that idea-unless you actively seek the hermit life.

The Awesome Mitten: 7 Reasons To Visit Pewabic Pottery This Winter
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

2. It’s Perfect For The “Indoors-y” Type

Michigan winters can be beautiful and are often conducive to loads of outdoor activities. Frozen lakes, untrodden snow, snowmobiling, snowboarding—you name it, and Mitten residents make the most of it. I, however, hate being outside when the temperature is below 30 degrees (you may have also guessed that I’m not exactly a winter sports aficionado). Never fear—Pewabic Pottery is located inside a warm, beautiful building that offers plenty of protection from chilling arctic wind. Yes, there’s that short run walk from the car to the building, but if I can brave that, anyone can!

The Awesome Mitten: 7 Reasons To Visit Pewabic Pottery This Winter
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

3. Watch Artists In Action

On weekdays, Pewabic opens its workshop area for self-guided, behind-the-scenes tours. Drop by to see artists at work and ask questions about their creations. There’s even an artists’ gallery set up behind the main Pewabic store, where you can browse (and purchase) some of the pieces Pewabic artists make in their spare time.

4. Get A Free History Lesson

Prior to visiting the pottery, I had no idea just how closely Pewabic’s history aligns with the hardworking, handmade work ethic that’s typical of Detroit. Started in the early 1900s by Mary Chase Perry Stratton, Pewabic was built on pillars of research and innovation by a self-made woman who aimed to change the arts and crafts landscape. Pewabic’s in-house museum details the life and career of Stratton, emphasizing the impact her success made not only on Detroit, but in artistic and architectural venues across the world, as well.

The Awesome Mitten: 7 Reasons To Visit Pewabic Pottery This Winter
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

5. Shop For Individual Pieces Or Plan A Remodel

Sure, you can shop online, but nothing beats seeing that iridescent shine on a trademark Pewabic tile or vase in person. In-store browsing allows you to see the individuality of each piece, letting you choose a unique treasure that’s right for you. There’s also an onsite tile gallery and consultation services available, so you can plan out a remodel of your kitchen (or bathroom . . . or entire house). What better way to commemorate your trip to Detroit than by taking home some souvenirs that impress and last a lifetime?

6. Support A Local Non-Profit

Based on the popularity and professional quality of Pewabic products, you may think that that some tycoon somewhere is raking in the cash from this operation. Not so! I was surprised to find out that Pewabic is actually a non-profit organization, so all money taken in goes back to support the pottery or help the local community. Art training and outreach programs for students, underprivileged children, and local hospitals are among some of Pewabic’s regular initiatives, all of which are made possible by pottery sales, memberships, and donations. This setup, while an obvious benefit to future and potential artists, also helps keep the original spirit of Pewabic alive for present and future generations.

The Awesome Mitten: 7 Reasons To Visit Pewabic Pottery This Winter
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

It’s A Great Place To Socialize

If you haven’t seen your friends since New Year’s Eve (or before Christmas . . . or any time in recent memory), it’s time to catch up! Plan a get-together at one of Pewabic’s hands-on workshops and learn the basics of tile making, wheel throwing, and more. There’s even a children’s camp available, so your kids won’t miss out on creating some artistic masterpieces of their own.

Have you ventured downtown to Pewabic this season? Tell us what you love most about the Detroit icon in the comments below!

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I’m Jennifer, a native Virginian trying her hand at living the Michigan life. I moved to the mitten with my husband in 2011, and since then, have been busy exploring the state and looking for the best of what it has to offer. So far, I have no complaints—except maybe that whole “longer winter” thing. But, hey—even that just gives me an excuse to buy more sweaters. When I’m not searching for new places or immersing myself in media news (I’m an advertising junkie), I’m usually writing stories for my blog, Wading in Big Shoes. I love connecting with new people, so feel free to find me there or at my Twitter handle, @JHBowman. In the meantime, I’ll see you around the mitten!