About

Island Stoneware studio exterior
Island Stoneware studio in Summerside

Island Stoneware pottery is made by Perry Niessen Studios Inc., owned and operated by Randy Perry and Jamie Niessen, and staffed with a terrific team of craftspeople. We started in 2008 as Right Off the Batt pottery and changed our name to Island Stoneware. We recently re-located our studio to Summerside from Borden-Carleton.

Randy, Jamie & Roxie
Randy, Jamie & Roxie the puggle

Randy is originally from Summerside and after more than 25 years of living across Canada and the U.S., he decided it was time to move home. He still works full-time as a software developer but contributes to the studio on evenings and weekends.

Jamie is originally from southern Alberta and he, too, has lived, worked and studied across Canada and in the U.S. (He’s proudly wearing a cap from his alma mater, Cornell University). Jamie runs the day-to-day operations of the studio, including making pottery. He’s learning to throw on the wheel but rest assured, Island Stoneware doesn’t sell anything he makes on the wheel (yet).

Roxie is a puggle enjoying the island life. She’s almost 10 and still doesn’t have a job. She’s not cut out for the studio because she likes to bark hello to every new person who comes through the door.

Rachel Ballem throwing a cup on the wheel

Rachel Ballem

Rachel joined Island Stoneware in 2019. Originally from Summerside, she started as a self-taught sculptor using newpaper and a food processor to create her first sculpting material. She moved on to polymer clay and then to stoneware clay. She’s been potting for over 20 years and, in fact, was taught by our other potter, Darren Matheson. Rachel is the mom of two grown kids and a menagerie of animals.

Peter Carver putting handles on coffee mugs

Peter Carver

Peter joined Island Stoneware in 2019. He says he’s always in pursuit of the perfect line. Peter is an iron worker by trade and has had a lifelong passion for art. Starting out in a Thursday night printmaking class at the PEI Arts Guild in Charlottetown, Peter went on to be mentored by the late Hilda Woolnough and has been a member of the Printmakers’ Council of PEI since 2000. After climbing to a peak in Ontario’s Algonquin park and hearing the rush of nearby water, Peter realized he needed to move back home to the Island. He’s happy raising a family and two dogs here as he continues the pursuit for the perfect line.

Darren Matheson throwing on the wheel

Darren Matheson

Darren joined Island Stoneware in 2014 and still maintains his own independent studio, Trout River Pottery (his wares are available at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market). Darren is known by many as Mugs Matheson and has been potting for over 30 years. He’s the proud father of three and grandfather of two.

Tunde Szarka

Tunde joined Island Stoneware in 2014. Originally from Hungary, Tunde moved to Canada for love (the human kind, not the pottery kind) and settled on PEI. Tunde studied architecture in the UK and has worked in many jobs but she’s particularly gifted at pottery. She’s also the studio’s resident baker, spoiling us with sweet treats on a regular basis. Tunde’s the mom to a busy three-year-old.

Our Principles

Inspired Design

The heart of our studio is the design of our products. As proud Islanders, our collections draw inspiration from the landscape and heritage of our home. From the red sandstone cliffs and rolling pastures to the breaking waves of blue, our natural environment is a never-ending source of wonder. Our cultural influences show up, too. You’ll see it in our collections inspired by the Island’s Celtic heritage and our role as the birthplace of Confederation.

Handmade with Purpose and Passion

Every single item is remarkably crafted by hand. Not a single piece of Island Stoneware is machine made. Each piece is touched by a human hand, skillfully crafted with purpose and passion.

Island Stoneware is a company committed to a small carbon footprint

Island Stoneware goes through tonnes of clay per year, and since every piece is handcrafted, there is waste. However, 100% of pre-fired clay waste resulting from production is recycled for reuse. Summerside generates ~45% of its power from renewable sources and all Island Stoneware kilns are powered by electricity.