STOKES COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s the most recognized image of the Christmas story, and potter Thad Cox has crafted it out of clay. 

“How that little guy changed the whole world is amazing,” he said as he sculpted the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus. 

Faith and art have always been a part of Thad’s life. He first learned to draw as a child in church but fell in love with pottery when he was a teenager.  

“I got into education, and I ended up doing what I said I was going to do when I was 14,” he said. “I was teaching art and making art on the side.” 

More from FOX8

North Carolina News

See the latest North Carolina news

He sells his pottery of Mary, Joseph and Jesus on Etsy. The pottery has a night star design allowing for a light or candle to illuminate.

He’s gotten orders from all over, including outside the country. His first order came thanks to his wife who suggested Thad create the pottery for Christmas gifts.

“She said, ‘Can you do some of these for me as Christmas gifts?’” he said. “I said I sure can.”