Dreaming in Clay on the Coast of Mississippi
Main Street Books and Pottery

Dreaming in Clay on the Coast of Mississippi

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The story of Shearwater Pottery and the Anderson family's artful enterprise

By Christopher Maurer and Maria Estrella Iglesias

Almost a century ago, Annette McConnell Anderson, a New Orleans society woman, vowed that her three sons would become artists. Turning her back on bourgeois life and abetted by her skeptical husband—a grain merchant—she bought twenty-eight acres of woodland on the Mississippi Sound. Beside a sleepy bayou, in the shade of towering pines and magnolias, she opened an art colony, one of the first of its kind in the South.

Backed by his mother's passion for art, her oldest son Peter Anderson founded Shearwater Pottery. Yearning “to make Shearwater synonymous with perfection,” he drew the entire family into his adventure. His brothers, “Mac” and Walter, made strange, wonderful pieces, though Walter Anderson eventually left the pottery studio to search for his own artistic path.

Drawn by the exquisite work of Shearwater Pottery, the authors discover that painting, poetry, and storytelling—much of it by strong, unforgettable women—are still an essential part of the family's daily life. Intimate diaries, letters, and poems lead the reader into a stormy, passionate, sometimes heartbreaking past. Meticulously researched and compassionately written, Dreaming in Clay on the Coast of Mississippi gathers one family's eternal legacy of wisdom and beauty, the healing power of art, the consolations of writing and of memory, and the spiritual treasures given us by the natural world.