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Douglass Rankin, Rock Creek Pottery

Biography to Display: 

1948 Born Fayetteville, North Carolina

2022 Died Sante Fe, New Mexico


1971 BA Botany, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina


1976-1978 Apprentice, Randy Johnston Pottery, River Falls Wisconsin


1978-1980 Co-owner, Potter, Hillcrest Pottery, Beldenville, Wisconsin

1980-2007 Potter, Rock Creek Pottery, Bakersville, North Carolina



Douglass Rankin, along with Will Ruggles, made a line of functional, wood-fired pottery: tall jars, pitch­ers, platters, plates, teapots, cups, rice bowls, and serving bowls. The pots are wheel thrown or drape molded with simple decorations: sometimes plain brushwork with slip, and once-fired glazes. 

Rankin and Ruggles co-owned and operated Rock Creek Pottery in North Carolina for many years. Randy Johnson, who had studied in Japan, introduced them to the Hamada-Leach-Yanagi tradition in aesthetics and production methods, which influenced Rankin and Ruggles.

In addition to being well known for their wood-fired pottery, Ruggles and Rankin held instructional workshops on kiln building, advising and helping many potters and institutions.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Gregg Museum of Art and Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Midwest Museum of Art, Elkhart, Indiana

North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, North Carolina

Southern Highland Craft Guild, Asheville, North Carolina


Bibliography to Display: 

Harkey, Linda. “Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin: Rock Creek Pottery.” Ceramics Monthly 50, no. 7 (Sept. 2002).

Hluch, Kevin A. The Art of Contemporary American Pottery.  Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2000.

Hopper, Robin. Stayin’ Alive: Survival Tactics for the Visual Artist. Iola WI: Krause Publications, 2003.

Joslin, Michael, and Ruth Joslin. More Mountain People, Places and Ways: Another Southern Appalachian Sampler. Johnson City TN: The Overmountain Press, 1992.

Lawton, Jim, Suzanne J. Tourtillott, and Linda Kupp. 500 Teapots: Contemporary Explorations of a Timeless Design, v. 2. Asheville NC: Lark Crafts 2013.

Minogue, Coll and Robert Sanderson. Wood-fired Ceramics: Contemporary Practices. Philadelphia PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Rankin, Douglass, and Will Ruggles. “Rock Creek Climbing Kiln, Part I.” The Studio Potter 22, no. 1 (December 1993).

Rankin, Douglass, and Will Ruggles. “Rock Creek Climbing Kiln, Part II.” The Studio Potter 22, no. 2 (June 1994).

Sauls, Miriam. "Douglass Rankin: Molding a Life in Clay, Duke Alumni Magazine, 2002. " accessed November 25, 2022. 

Tourtillott, Suzanne J. E., ed. 500 Bowls: Contemporary Explorations of a Timeless Design. Asheville NC: Lark Crafts: 2003.

Triplett, Kathy. Handbuilt Tableware: Making Distinctive Plates, Bowls, Bowls, Mugs, Teapots, and More. Asheville NC: Lark Crafts, 2003.

Troy, Jack. Wood-Fired Stoneware and Porcelain. Iola WI: Krause Publications, 1997.




Artist's Studio: Rock Creek Pottery


Typical Marks

The typical mark is a stamped spiral with three dots in a rectangle with rounded corners, or a rectangle containing an upper case R followed by a lower case r.

ca 1983-2005
Date: ca 1983-2005
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Altered, Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Southern Highland Craft Guild Collection
Photo: Southern Highland Craft Guild
Southern Highland Craft Guild Collection
Photo: Southern Highland Craft Guild
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Woodfire
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Woodfire
Jean and Paul Adams Collection
Photo: TMP
Jean and Paul Adams Collection
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified July 22, 2023.