Peter Anderson is remembered for his work as master potter at Shearwater Pottery from the time he opened it in 1928 until before his death in 1984. The Peter Anderson Arts and Craft festival is held in his honor; it occurs on the first weekend of November each year in Ocean Springs and attracts over 100,000 guests. Peter was the brother of another famous Gulf Coast artist, Walter Inglis Anderson.
Peter was the eldest of the brothers. All three were sent to the Manlius Military Academy for Boys in New York; when they returned to New Orleans, they were enrolled in a school where they studied crafts such as pottery and woodworking. For income in his younger years, Peter sold animal furs of animals he’d trapped in the remote areas of Louisiana marshlands.
In early adulthood, Peter met Joseph Meyer while rowing out to Deer Island one day. Meyer was the potter and mentor to the famous potter, George Ohr. Peter became interested in the world of pottery, and under the guise of Mr. Meyer, began learning pottery on his own. He began throwing pottery and even built a small kiln on the Shearwater compound. In 1925, Peter was throwing and firing pottery, but was unsatisfied with his results. Through trial and error, Peter finally obtained his first usable clay in Fish River in Alabama. He then discovered more usable clay in George County MS. The Anderson family still uses this clay today.
Peter went on to study glazes at a studio in Pennsylvania. He worked for a few years at the School of Clay Working and Ceramics in New York. When he returned home, he continued his passion for creating pottery, and in 1928 with the help of his parents, he opened Shearwater Pottery-the headquarters for the making and selling of his work.
In his free time, Peter enjoyed the outdoors, spending much of his time fishing, gardening, and driving around looking for wildflowers.