Gauley River Pottery

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Travel Mug
Ripple Mug
Fatbelly Mug
Beer Mug
West Virginia Mug
Regular Mug
Class III Wave Bowl
Class VI Wave Bowl
Mixing Bowl
Serving Bowl
Cereal Bowl
Berry Bowl
Garlic Holder
Garlic Roaster
Pie Plate
Honey Pot
Chip'n'Dip Platter
Piggy Bank
Soap Pump


We were recently featured on Traveling WV a segment on WCHS a local news station. Follow this link for the Story.

  Gauley River Potters

John and Mary discovered the true beauty of almost heaven on the banks of the New River and Gauley River.  Living and working in the whitewater industry opened their eyes wide to the fluid works of nature. It seems only logical that they made the transition from whitewater to pottery.  

Mary's Experience on and off the wheel

Mary Bethune began her career in pottery while attending Marshall University.  She instantly fell in love with this craft that combines both art and science into a magical creation.  Mary also apprenticed with two master potters in her years following her attendance at Marshall.  During those years she worked without influence to let her own inspirations and instincts guide her to create this unique line of work.

Mary's Inspiration

Mary's love for pottery grew out of her love for whitewater.  While attending Towson State University in Maryland, Mary learned how to roll a kayak in a swimming pool with 4 fellow club members.  With limited whitewater experience Mary had a deep drive to learn more about this new passion she had found in the kayak.  In the summer of 1992 Mary trained for her first year as a whitewater rafting guide on the Cheat River in Northern West Virginia.  It did not take long for Mary to learn that West Virginia was where she needed to be.  That summer Mary worked in Maryland coaching a summer swim team and traveled every weekend back to WV to paddle various creek and rivers across the state.  August of that summer Mary trained to be a video kayaker on the New River followed by working her first season on the Gauley River. The next semester of college was at Marshall University were she found pottery. The next few years were spent pursuing both her passions. Mary worked her summers on the river filming rafting trips and dreaming of pottery and worked her winters in her pottery studio dreaming of kayaking.  During her career in whitewater Mary focused on filming from her kayak on all sections of the New and Gauley Rivers.  She also worked as a kayak instructor for beginners up to advanced intermediates for many of those years. She also took many opportunities to guide rafts on the New and Gauley Rivers.  In 1997 Mary began the transition to pottery full time.  Chasing oar powered rafts down the river no longer intrigued her as much as becoming a full time potter.  Now Mary works full time in her studio with her husband.  Both of them Enjoy the river with family and friends. When you do not find Mary in the studio she is probably spending time with her three sons and husband John or paddling a local river for a whitewater fix.

John Ackison

For John pottery is much more than throwing mud into a vessel. To make a career in pottery work John says you have to build your business from the ground up with you bare hands; carpenter, electrician, businessman, photographer and artist, are just some of the skills needed to make Gauley River Pottery work and thrive. John is a jack of all trades and trust his instincts to guide him every day, his life experiences have prepared him to take up the challenge of being a successful studio potter. 

John apprenticed with a master potter for 2 years and studied small business planning, then jumped right into working full time at Gauley River Pottery with Mary.

John was born in Fayetteville in the heart of whitewater country. While attending West Virginia Institute of Technology he learned how to guide whitewater on the New and Gauley Rivers. Soon he became a Trip Leader, Fishing Guide and a teacher of whitewater, spending his spring months training new guides and summer months sharing the beautiful canyons of the New River with guest from around the globe. In the fall months John was running the Upper Gauley and the winter months learning pottery and working with his hands on different construction projects. After many years and well over 1000 commercial trips, John retired from commercial whitewater to pursue a career in pottery. Now John loves to take family and friends whitewater rafting and whitewater fishing in his raft and welcomes others to come along. John spends his spare time sharing his hobbies with his three boys. John also enjoys photographing the beautiful scenery of West Virginia's creeks and rivers.



Gauley Green
Gauley Green
Cranberry Mountain Sunset
Cranberry Mountain Sunset
New River Nights
New River Nights

Forest Green


Cobalt Blue


Gauley River Pottery

526 West Mount Lookout Road

Mount Lookout, WV 26678

Studio 304-872-2841

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