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History, Heritage & Today

The Rookwood Pottery Company traces its roots back to 1880 when Maria Longworth Nichols opened the company’s doors in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the 1800s women were not permitted to paint on canvas, so Maria took it upon herself to find a loophole to pursue her dream of being an artist by painting on ceramic. Inspired by the Japanese designs she saw at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, Maria took her first steps toward opening her own pottery.

In March of 1880, a renovated schoolhouse was purchased to house the company. Named after the Longworth Family’s estate in Cincinnati, Rookwood became the first female-owned manufacturing company in the United States. Maria recruited a team of famous artists, talented art students and glaze technicians, encouraging them to exchange ideas and be innovative in the world of ceramics. She believed that the key to creating fine art was to cultivate an environment filled with talent, ideas and inspiration.

Every piece of tile and pottery created at Rookwood goes through at least thirteen sets of hands from raw clay to finished product. Rookwood’s Creative team cultivates new ideas and its expert artisans brings those ideas to life. From the initial inspiration to the final product, the Rookwood process centers on the artistic expertise of our craftsmen, artists and glaze chemists.

Today, Rookwood Pottery strives to provide joy and enrich lives by creating uncompromising handcrafted ceramics of enduring inspiration. Rookwood Pottery upholds Maria’s pioneering spirit and is again woman-owned today. Rookwood is dedicated to innovation, to creating work that is breathed from nature, birthed from imagination, and executed with the highest level of craftsmanship. Rookwood cultivates a culture of artistic inspiration, balancing its rich heritage of quality and excellence with the forward-thinking momentum that is at the core of Rookwood’s soul.


Take a look at where Rookwood is today.

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Take a quick view of how Rookwood pottery and tile is made.

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Rookwood Tile Catalog

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News & Events

June Open House

Join us on June 23 + 24 for our annual Open House event at our Race Street showroom! We will be introducing new product and architectural tile, one-of-a-kind and hand-thrown pieces, tours, refreshments and more! - TOURS - Tours...

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On September 22-24, we will be hosting an Open House at our Race Street location! We will have an extensive selection of one-of-a-kind & one-off pieces, as well as many other exclusive items on sale. Tours will be available at 10:30am and 2pm each ...

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Final Friday event to feature Rookwood artist Kevin Auzenne

Rookwood's Artist Showcase featuring the work of Kevin Auzenne. Rookwood will display a range of pieces featuring Kevin's hand-painted items, and he will be on hand to answer questions and to sign pieces. This event is free. ...

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