Shearwater Pottery: Chronology and Archives

By Christopher Maurer


Peter Anderson (founder of Shearwater) born in New Orleans, the oldest child of George Walter Anderson (1865-1937), a New Orleans grain dealer, and Annette McConnell Anderson (1867-1964), who had studied art at Newcomb College (class of 1900) Photo: from Annette's notebook, Shearwater archives


The Andersons move to a new house at 533 Broadway, New Orleans


In Summer 1915, WIA and Peter enroll at St. John’s School, Manlius, New York.


In June 1918, for the sum of $2500, Annette McConnell Anderson purchases “Fairhaven,” a property on the Bay of Biloxi, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi (population 2,000)


Peter and Walter study at Isidore Newman Manual Training School, New Orleans


The Andersons move to Fairhaven. By 1925, Peter has built a groundhog kiln and has fired his first pieces, with advice from Annette's friends at Newcomb Pottery. Letter from Mary Given Sheerer, Newcomb. Shearwater Archives


Peter studies pottery with Edmund DeForest Curtis of Conestoga Pottery, Wayne, Pennsylvania

Summer 1926

Annette organizes an arts colony at Shearwater


Peter and his father enter into a partnership agreement for Shearwater Pottery


January 19. Shearwater Pottery opens to the public. Peter experiments with shapes and glazes and Walter designs his first pieces: pelican and crab bookends, lampstands, “Resting” and “Sitting Geometric Cats”, rounded cats, a fish, horses, and numerous plates and vases


Peter and Walter meet Patricia and Agnes (“Sissy”) Grinstead at Shearwater: daughters of William Wade Grinstead, a Pittsburgh lawyer and trust officer, and Agnes Marjorie Deuel Hellmuth. While Pat studies in France, she and Peter exchange a marvelous series of letters.

Walter Anderson makes “Vase with Horses," remembering the cave paintings he had seen in France at Les Eyzies, and gives it to Sissy or her mother. He also does the cast piece Bacchante, pelican doorstop, and pirate figurines.

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