As the golden light of September evenings gives way to shadows earlier each day, we find ourselves reflecting on a most memorable summer residency season. Over the past three months, nearly one hundred artists joined us from thirty-one states and eight countries. They ranged in age from twenty to seventy-two and brought a breadth of experiences, ideas, and interests to our creative community.
Many of this year’s sessions were years in the making. The artists who developed the session themes began working with us in 2019 with intentions to hold the residencies in 2020. Looking back, it feels like the planning process took place during a different life altogether. But the organizers stuck with us through pandemic closures, a studio rebuild, and an altered 2021 season operating at half capacity. Perhaps the patience and determination required to hold these long-awaited sessions made the residency experience that much sweeter.
The following reflections from resident artists and photos from their time on campus capture moments from each of our remarkable 2022 sessions.
The Color Network Mentorship Session
For the second year in a row, we partnered with The Color Network (TCN) to host a residency for artists taking part in TCN’s mentorship program. Intended to deepen mentor-mentee relationships among artists of color, the session offered time and space for program participants to connect in person. Sixteen artists spent their time together making work, enjoying delicious food, firing Watershed’s salt kilns, and pursuing their creative practices with support from fellow participants.
“It was not just that we were artists of color but also that we were an inter-generational group. This allowed us to have such rich and generous dialogue with one another. I am so moved to have been included and am still processing the impact of this experience.”
“I wish I had experiences like this when I was a student. To know we aren’t alone in our corners of the world is really important. Diversity makes everyone better.”
This session was supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with all artists’ residencies fully funded. Participants included Jasmine Baetz, Lena Chin, Patsy Cox, Magdolene Dykstra, Jesus Chuy Guizar, Shaya Ishaq, Ibrahim Khazzaka, Cassandra Scanlon, Kay Marin, Malcolm Mobutu Smith, Yesha Panchal, George Rodriguez, Chris Salas, Shoji Satake, Sam Shamard, and Vivianne Sisqueiros.
For two weeks, the artists who took part in this summer’s Biomorphic Idyll session transformed the studio with their positively ebullient energy. Sixteen folks who draw inspiration from micro- to macro-cosmic natural forms gathered to share ideas and delve into their creative practices. They braved a salt firing with very successful results, lit some stellar campfires, and turned the studio into a karaoke stage. These few shots of the session capture just a touch of the magic they brought to campus.
“I had an incredible time at Watershed. My practice grew in ten days as much as it usually grows in half a year. I feel refreshed and super excited to keep creating.”
Organized by Meaghan Gates, the session’s participating artists included Natalie Anthone, Angela Cunningham, Maya Vivas, Nan Farrar, Brianna Gerrish, Grace Gittelman, Rennie Jones, Sasha Koozel Reibstein, Coleton Lunt, Francesca McGinley, Walter O’Neill, Ashton Pawl, Elizabeth Peña-Alvarez, Meriel Stern, and RJ Sturgess.
Multidisciplinary artists in this session explored painterly approaches to working in clay and filled the studio with color. They monoprinted on slabs, made burnout casts and drawings in slip, crushed kiln-fired mica into their surfaces, and — in what seemed to be a ‘22 Summer Residency session requirement — fired the salt kiln. Their positive cameraderie carried through all interactions from the studio to the dining table and beyond.
“This was an extraordinary residency…the other artists, the facilities, the staff, the meals, the conversations, the vibe. I loved every single minute and already know that my time at Watershed was pivotal.”
Organized by Suzanne Dittenber and Susan Klein, participating artists in the session included Marcie Bronstein, Antonia Casino, Corinna Cowles, Susan Gregory, Philippe Hyojung Kim, Sarah Knight, Susannah Kopchains, Lauren Mabry, Jess Rapaport, Maria White, Claire Whitehurst, and Ryze Xu.
Resisting: Surface & Form
The artists who took part in the Resisting: Surface & Form residency spent their session in pure experimentation mode as they collaboratively explored ways to use stencils, silkscreens, cut vinyl, and countless other methods of adding pattern, color, and texture to their work. They also helped us celebrate during Salad Days by performing demos, selling work in the pottery sale, and all-around elevating the good vibes on campus.
“As an educator, most of the year is focused on my classroom and doesn’t always allow room for creating my own artwork. Being offered this time and space to work with others without any of the normal daily distractions was a gift. It helped to foster community, work through ideas, and recharge my creative spirit.”
Organized by Naomi Clement and Shalya Marsh, the session brought together participants including Jennifer Allen, Ann Boyajian, Yael Braha, Marianne Chenard, Katerina Devadan, Erin Furimsky, Mike Gesiakowski, Kyle Scott Lee, Jill Oberman, Lindsay Rogers, Shana Salaff, Samuel Sarmiento, Piper Smith, Grace Tessein, and Kara Thomas.
During an unforgettable two weeks, the adventurous artists who participated in the Soda Pop! session ambitiously staged four soda kiln firings, experimented with raku, tried their hand at encaustic, and truly brought a lively pop of color to campus. These few photos only scratch the surface of their time together!
“Watershed provided an ideal environment in which to move my work forward. The collaboration, resources, and time were immensely beneficial. I learned so much during the short time through speaking with the other artists, speaking with the incredibly knowledgeable and helpful staff, and just going for it. I would recommend the experience to anyone!”
Organized by Trudy Chiddix and Tara Sartorius, the session included participating artists Japheth Aseidu-Kwarteng, Maya Blume Cantrell, Fabiola De la Cueva, Hana Dvorak, Benjamin Fedosky, Roy Maayan, Andrew Mazzaschi, Jocelyn Miller, Eliesa Peters-Bollinger, Tara Sartorius, Susan Siegel, Jeonghyun Song, Lorie Stout, Marion Toms, and Asma Waheed.
Clay in Other Frames
We closed out the 2022 Summer Residency with a session that convened interdisciplinary artists from around the US and abroad. Bringing their experience in other media to bear, participating artists took novel approaches to working in clay and filled the studio and campus with their experiments and collaborations. They raku fired, gas fired, went on plein air painting dates, found inspiration in Maine’s eccentric antique shops, collaborated with silk worms, lamented challenging breakages, installed finished pieces, gathered around the camp fire, and so much more.
Organized by Dan Gunn, session participants included Audrey An, Leslie Baum, Emily Cooper, Paul Erschen, Vincent Frimpong, Chris Frost, Ahn Lee, Bianca Macphersen, Louisa Neill, Barb Smith, Allison Wade, Keegan Whitford, Ariel Wood, and Chen Zou.
Thank you one and all for being part of an exceptional summer! Plans for 2023 residency sessions are already underway with more details coming this fall.