Boyd S. Hilton (d. 1985), Blackburn, Catawba County. Interview recorded July 1981.
Boyd S. Hilton belonged to a family with deep roots in the Catawba Valley pottery tradition. John Wesley Hilton was the patriarch of a family tradition that spans several generations.
Hilton’s father, Curtis, worked at a shop operated by his brother George that closed in 1910. A young Boyd S. moved away and would not return to the family farm in Blackburn until retiring from a long career with the U.S. Merchant Marine. After returning to the farm and through the encouragement of his son, Hilton began to turn under the tutelage of local potters Burlon Craig and Enoch Reinhardt.
Though just a hobby, Hilton excelled in the production of glass-glazed swirlware.
The son of Boyd S. Hilton, Boyd Robert was inspired to learn the potter’s craft after taking a ceramics course and by his awareness of his family’s long connection to the pottery tradition in the region. He encouraged his father to turn and assisted him in getting his pottery set up on the family farm in the Catawba Valley town of Blackburn.
After retiring, Boyd reopened his father’s shop in 2003 and now turns pottery full time. He continues to produce practical wares often highlighted with the blue associated with the Hilton family tradition. Boyd also experiments with his father’s intricate swirlware and produces dogwood-embellished pieces.
Catawba Cultural Preservation
Catawba Cultural Center