Wakefield Studio is located just outside the tiny village of Rockdale, Wisconsin, (pop. 214), in what was once the 3 stanchion milking parlour of a 100-year-old barn.
Peter Wakefield Jackson is a potter with more than 35 years experience, interested in beautiful form, simple utility, the history of potters and pottery, and the ongoing struggle for viability in the marketplace for handmade artisan goods.
Peter grew up in Tulsa, making his first pots at Philbrook Art Center in 1971. During the summer of 1972, Peter and his dad built a kick potter's wheel in the basement of the family home, and by 1974 he was showing his pottery at local art fairs. After studying ceramics at Knox College with Henry Joe, who had been a student of world renowned potter, Warren MacKenzie, he attended a summer workshop with MacKenzie, which led to an apprenticeship with Minnesota wood-firing potter, Wayne Branum. During his time in Minnesota, his work was included in group sales at MacKenzie's studio, with potters Linda Christianson, Clary Illian, John Reeve, Jeff Oestreich, Branum and others whose work continues to influence him today. After leaving Minnesota, he worked as a production potter at Rowe Pottery Works, which led the revival in early American style salt-glazed pottery in the early 1980's. In 1984 he founded Rockdale Union Stoneware, which grew to become one of the largest producers of handmade salt-glazed stoneware in the U.S.
In 1996, longtime friend and fellow potter, Guy Wolff needed help producing his white clay flower pots that had just been discovered by Martha Stewart, as well as Smith & Hawken. Guy was inundated with orders, and it was much more than he could possibly produce by himself in a small studio. This began a long a fruitful partnership between Guy and Peter, designing and producing garden pottery for Smith & Hawken, and many other wholesale accounts. In their work together in the late 90's and early 00's, Guy and Peter traveled around the world, working with potters in the U.S., Honduras, Mexico, England, Portugal, Malaysia, Vietnam and China to develop pottery lines for the wholesale market.
Wakefield Studio made the wholesale production of the Guy Wolff garden pottery line for Smith & Hawken stores for 10 years, making white clay pots in Wisconsin, Faux Finish pots in Honduras, and glazed pots in Portugal.
Through his work with Napa Home & Garden, from 2005-2020, Peter initiated and led product development and sourcing projects for Smith & Hawken, Restoration Hardware and Williams Sonoma. In 2014, he was asked by Napa to develop his own line of pottery that Napa could market nationwide to garden centers and wholesale accounts. The Wakefield Handmade Faux Finish line has enjoyed great success with Napa, and new additions to the line are in the works for 2022.
In 2020, Peter returned to working full time in his studio, and has been joined by his wife, Megan, who retired after 25 years as a school social worker in Madison, Wisconsin. Peter does all the throwing, and he and Megan work together on finishing, firing, packing and shipping. Megan does photography of the finished pieces and is also in charge of the website. They make a great team, and truly enjoy working together to bring handmade garden pottery into the homes of friends and customers.