Jean Wells

Host artist at Jean’s Clay Studio

WKE Fine Craft Studio Tour Committee Member


Jean Smaglik Wells, a professional potter for over 25 years, creates contemporary stoneware pottery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Known for her graphic designs, Jean’s uses an age-old technique called “sgraffito” in which her stylized designs are individually hand drawn and carved through colored clay on every piece. Thrown on the pottery wheel, her simple, sturdy forms hold up well to daily use.  

Jean studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1985-1988, majoring in Ceramics and minoring in Portrait Painting.  She went on to work as an apprentice at Geneva Art Pottery with John and Claire Bailey in Lake Geneva, WI in 1990 and started her own studio practice in Milwaukee during the early 90’s.

Jean currently sells most of her work directly through her online Etsy shop and at regional Art & Craft shows. Notably, Jean recently created a successful series of ‘limited edition’ handmade mugs for Colectivo Coffee shops in the Milwaukee/Madison areas. In 2017, the USGA commissioned Jean to create commemorative pieces for the US Open Championship held at Erin Hills Golf Course in Wisconsin.

Jean is a board member of the Wisconsin Designer Craft Council and a member of both the Milwaukee Artists Resource Network and Local First Milwaukee.  She is also co-founder of Milwaukee Empty Bowls  established in 1999, an organization that has raised over 750,000 dollars for local food pantries and meal programs in SE Wisconsin.