Frank Stewart comes from a long line of potters. Members of his family have been creating pottery in Winston County since his grandfather, Homer Wade Stewart, began the business in 1888. Frank grew up in the pottery shop, learning to throw pots from his father (Winford Stewart) and working to fill orders with his five brothers. The family dug their own clay from deposits found within the county and made utilitarian pieces for everyday use in the home, including, butter churns, jugs, bowls, and pitchers. They sold their work to people in the community and to general merchandise stores throughout the region.
Stewart got out of the pottery trade as an adult, taking a job at Taylor Machine Works in Louisville. However, his uncle Gerald (pronounced “gair-old”) continued the family business up until his retirement in 1982. Gerald’s continuation of the business allowed Frank’s son Keith to learn the craft while growing up. Keith began assisting his great uncle in the shop when he was eleven and developed a strong interest in pottery. When Gerald retired, Keith and his father opened their own pottery studio. Frank began throwing pots in his spare time. Keith has continued to work in pottery full-time. He graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of Mississippi and established his own studio at Taylor, Mississippi.
Although he does not produce the huge amount of pottery that his father and uncles did, Stewart remains committed to making pottery. He still mines his clay from deposits near his home. He uses some of the newer equipment (like electric kilns and an electric pug mill that processes the clay), but he still makes pitchers, churns, and other pieces in the same style that his father and grandfather did. Stewart sells his work through his shop and gift shops in the region. In honor of their multi-generational commitment to their work, Stewart and his family received a Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2000.