Since 1986, Winton and Rosa Eugene, husband and wife artisans, have successfully developed a unique line of functional and decorative stoneware. Winton Eugene is a self-taught potter, who in the early eighties became interested in the medium as he watched his children work with clay for school projects. Rosa noticed her husbandâs pottery interest grow and bought some books on the topic. Soon Winton purchased a potterâs wheel and taught himself how to turn.
Within six months, the coupleâs garage was filled with unglazed pottery. When Winton experienced difficulty in making glaze stick to the clay, he enlisted his wifeâs help. Ever since, the two have been collaborating on the family business. Initially, Rosa applied the glazes and organized their business affairs, but today she enjoys creating stoneware pottery along with Winton in their studio in Cowpens, SC. The Eugenes produce traditional forms such as jars, pitchers, bowls and vases, however, the designs which they carve into and/or paint onto the surface of the pots are the focal point of their art.
Each individual piece carries a message about the cherished heritage from which these two artists have come. Whether reflecting on the past or exploring a concept such as dignity and pride, their works cause the viewer to be captured by the artistsâ remarkable ability to speak through the clay medium. Their works evoke imagery and memories from a past shared by African-Americans and Caucasians alike. Their messages reveal a universal ancestry of man. Their work has been featured in museums and art galleries across the south and as far away as Germany and China. Their larger "story" pieces are prized by collectors.