PETER WAKEFIELD JACKSON
ABOUT WAKEFIELD STUDIO
Wakefield Studio is located just outside the tiny village of Rockdale, Wisconsin, (pop. 204), 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 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, and he founded Rockdale Union Stoneware in 1984.
In 1996, longtime friend and fellow potter, Guy Wolff needed help producing his white clay flowerpots 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 my 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, Peter has done product development and sourcing of pottery lines for companies such as Restoration Hardware and Williams Sonoma, as well as his own Wakefield Handmade Faux Finish line which was developed exclusively for Napa Home & Garden in 2014.
In 2017, Peter began to work in stoneware again, once again making utilitarian pots for the kitchen and table. He has converted his 150 cubic foot kiln, originally built for firing large quantities of earthenware flowerpots to 2000° F, into a soda kiln that can reach temperatures of 2350°. At peak temperature, soda ash is introduced into the kiln, glazing pots with a fine coating of glass. The results are very satisfying, producing flashes of earthy colors, with natural variations from how heavily or lightly the soda vapor has touched the pots.
Currently, Peter's time in the studio is very limited due to his full-time position with Napa Home & Garden, as VP of E-commerce, and doing ongoing product development for the wholesale market. Peter has always enjoyed the business side of pottery, but working with clay is his passion, and the time he gets in the studio is always cherished.