August 27, 2010
My two week residency at Watershed was fantastic! To start with, it was in Maine in a beautiful area near the coast an hour outside of Portland. The weather was amazing and the studio and house is situated upon farmland that felt similar to the rolling hills of western North Carolina.
Watershed's history takes you back to an old brick factory that manufactured bricks out of the local Maine earthenware clay. Today, summer and fall residents are invited to work in the old barn factory and are able to use the same local clay that was used to make the bricks.
The session I was in was with Sequoia Miller and invited artist Jean Hicks, a felter and sculptor who has been friends with Sequoia for several years. We had a great group of people in our session, including Marty Fielding, who was very fun to get to know and see how he makes his beautiful pots.
The residency at Watershed is different than a 'class' at other clay centers. Its purpose is to give artists a chance to individually work on their own ideas together in a community studio. I was excited to have this opportunity to focus on trying new things in a new setting without worrying about the end result. It was all about exploring for me. I set a parameter of keeping within the realm of pouring vessels, or ewers, which lately have been my favorite form to make. I'll explain more about what I made with some future posts.
It was great having time to work on my own thing, but be around so much great energy in the studio. The only requirement was to meet up at meal times, which were in the shared house we lived in. The food at Watershed is AMAZING! The other nice thing we did as a session was to set up a 'cocktail' hour of sharing and relaxing each day around 5:30. This led to the wearing of wigs as well as stomping around on some wool in a beehive kiln! (What? you ask? More here!)
But the first we thing we did after meeting everyone in the group is sit down and make pinch pots just to feel out this beautiful local red earthenware clay. Then the next morning, we headed out to the famous Watershed clay hill to dig some clay and mix up a batch to use.