Shannon Porter

Coordinator of Most Everything


Morale Department

The story​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ goes something like this...​


Once upon a time (early 1930s) in a beautiful lush valley (Spring Green, Wisconsin) there was a little cheese factory. The factory served the local dairy farmers of the picturesque Wilson Creek valley. 


When the little factory could no longer compete with big business dairy, the property, including a farmhouse, was sold to Peggy Ahlgren in 1973. With the help of family and friends, the factory was converted to a quaint pottery shop and studio including an impressive hand built gas-reduction kiln that sits just outside the studio doors. For the next nearly forty years she created beautiful functional stoneware and a successful business.


Meanwhile, further south in Chicago, Ashley Pfannenstiel graduated with both an art and teaching degree. She went on to develop a successful career in the outdoor industry. She played a major role launching and working for the Portland, Oregon based Nau, a sustainable clothing brand, and as a manager, she helped open the downtown Chicago REI retail store.


Ashley began looking for a way to get back to her art, and Peggy, ready to retire, wanted her special place left in the clay-caked hands of a potter. This is where their two stories collide. The fates and an exceptional woman by the name of Liz Schumaker, stepped in and in 2012, it truly did "happen over dinner one night." Mutual friends of both Peggy and Ashley, Liz made the connection.


The pottery has continued to prosper in Ashley and her gang's capable hands. They continue to learn new tricks and develop new products, colors and connections. And the story continues...