Office (228) 875-7320
102 Shearwater Drive
USPS Mail: P.O. Box 737
Ocean Springs, MS 39564
Shearwater Pottery was established in 1928 by the late Peter Anderson. In 1930 he was joined in the business by his two younger brothers the late Walter Inglis Anderson and the late James McConnell Anderson (Mac).
In 1918 George Walter and Annette McConnell Anderson, parents of the three brothers, purchased 24 acres of land facing the Mississippi Sound in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. George Walter Anderson, a grain import/export merchant in New Orleans, Louisiana, retired in 1920, and in 1922 the family moved to Fairhaven, the name first given to the 24 acres of land now known as Shearwater. Annette’s artistic temperament drove her to provide her three sons with a fundamental appreciation of the arts, and as a result all three sons eventually found their occupations within the art world. Peter became the potter while Walter and Mac became sculptures, decorators, and painters.
In 1928 Peter built the Shearwater Pottery workshop and showroom, and focused on throwing original pottery and creating original glazes. Buff bodied ware that is glazed with one of our glazes is known as glazeware. In 1930 Walter and Mac joined the effort by building an “annex” where they created original molds to produce castware to be hand painted. In the Annex Walter and Mac also decorated an abundance of Peter’s thrown pots. The decorated, hand painted ware is produced in the Annex using underglaze stains, and is referred to as underglaze ware. Walter and Mac created numerous original molds that are still cast today including: Walter’s twenty pirates, forty-seven black figurines, a series of four football players, fairy tale figurines, the “Oldfields Series”, and large sculpted teapots; and Mac’s series of nine baseball players, animals, birds, and fish. In addition, Mac and Walter created many other pieces incorporating the native flora and fauna of the Mississippi coastal region.
Once the original molds were created by Mac and Walter, the Annex production was maintained by workshop personnel that would cast and fire the underglaze work, and showroom staff that would trim and paint the pieces in the original style of Mac and Walter’s. This arrangement remained in place until Mac’s daughter Adele Anderson Lawton joined Shearwater in 1973 when the Annex became staffed with dedicated personnel. Peter’s son Michael joined Shearwater in 1979. Adele left the Annex in 1987 and Michael continued managing the Annex until he retired after Katrina in 2005 at which time Adele returned. The Annex is now staffed with Anderson family members as well as others. The main decorators today are Peter’s daughter, Patricia Anderson Findeisen, and Mac’s daughter, Adele Anderson Lawton. The Annex continues to produce high quality hand painted castware based on the original molds, and decorated underglaze ware.
In 1966 Peter’s son, Jim, joined Shearwater Pottery, and this marked the first commitment of the younger generation of Anderson’s in carrying on the Shearwater Pottery legacy. Peter Anderson died in 1984, and today Jim leads Shearwater Pottery operations with the involvement of a number of Anderson descendants as well as others employed to carry on the Shearwater legacy.
Originally Peter’s father, George Walter, came out of retirement to become Shearwater Pottery’s first business manager until his death in 1937. In 1930 when Peter married Patricia (Pat) Grinstead, she, through her love for both Peter and the pottery being created, began to assume the role of business manager, and continued supporting Shearwater and Peter until her death in 1973. Prior to Pat’s death, the wife of Peter’s son James (Jim) Anderson, Margaret, assisted Pat in managing the business, and eventually assumed the role entirely until 1981 when Peter’s daughter Marjorie became business manager, a role she still holds today. Recently her daughter Beth Ashley joined Shearwater to learn the role.
On August 29, 2005 the destruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina brought on a significant challenge for the Anderson family. The hurricane destroyed or severely damaged 17 of 19 buildings on the Shearwater property. The damage to the Shearwater Pottery business included the destruction of the Shearwater Pottery showroom and the Annex as well as severe damage to the main workshop, glaze room, and kiln houses.
Of the six Anderson family homes destroyed three were those of Peter Anderson’s children, the current owner/operators of Shearwater Pottery.
With the help of the City of Ocean Springs, MS, the city of Albemarle, NC, the Anderson family and various non-profit volunteers from all over the United States the debris from Hurricane Katrina was cleared. What could be salvaged was saved and the family began the task of rebuilding. It marked a new beginning for Shearwater Pottery, but not a change in the Shearwater tradition.
Over the next months after Katrina hit the Anderson family temporarily located the business operations in a downtown location in Ocean Springs, MS and with persistence was back to creating their unique pottery. Throughout the next year the family continued to focus on creating pottery and rebuilding the business at the original Shearwater Pottery location. The Annex was rebuilt, the kilns replaced, and the Shearwater Pottery workshop and supporting buildings restored. On March 17, 2007, the 100th anniversary of Peter’s wife Pat’s birthday, the opening of the “new” Shearwater Showroom was celebrated. This was the last step in bringing Shearwater Pottery back to the original location where Peter first established it.
The Shearwater Pottery workshop and Annex still operate today using the fundamentals taught to them by Peter, Walter, and Mac. Each piece of pottery is created individually, and each has its own unique features. As Shearwater was and still remains a small family business many of the younger generation have worked or are working within the family business.