Clay in the Expanded Field: 2023 Summer Residency Session Preview

In this guest post, 2023 Summer Residency session co-organizers Emily Bayless and Britny Wainwright share their inspiration and ideas for Summer Residency Session I: Clay in the Expanded Field. Additional artists anchoring the session include Katie Coughlin, Brandi Lee Cooper, Meredith Habermann & Kelly O’Briant. Space in the session is available for artists interested in joining the group at Watershed from May 22 to June 2. Learn more and apply to join this session.

Artwork with two ceramic vessels and colorful printed and quilted textile behind it.

‘Live-in Comrades’ by Britny Wainwright


Emily: Britny and I met due to the collaborative nature of the ceramics field. Collaboration is something each of us naturally gravitate toward. So far – mainly due to geographic circumstances – we have worked together exclusively via digital formats, and, in my opinion, enjoy a harmonious and mutually beneficial collaborative working relationship. I was immediately enchanted with Britny’s work and decided we must work together. Luckily, she was of the same mindset. 

Britny: It has been great collaborating with Emily, despite never being in the same room! I admire her commitment to ceramics and am excited by her latest experiments with fiber. I hope that this residency will create space for dialogue with all the participating artists about the expanding field of ceramics. Our overlapping interests in our studios will be complemented by other contemporary ceramic artists working with multiple materials. 

Artwork containing blue-green ceramic lattice piece atop a green woven textile.

‘Frenchie’ by Emily Bayless


Online art crushes: In the spirit of embracing virtual networking in this post-pandemic world, we connected with many, though not all, of the invited artists via the internet! In the age of [insert social network here], we all admire from afar. We welcome this opportunity at Watershed as a chance to reach out to those @artistsnames we wanted to make and learn with and assemble a group working in the spirit of the residency.

The theme of this session, Clay in the Expanded Field: Material as Metaphor, supports new ways of making, the revisiting of metaphors we use through material, and pushing the technical boundaries of clay while engaging in endless questioning as its life-long students. We look forward to coming to Watershed with a plan while being present enough with the material and the group to completely throw that plan out the window. We aim to connect with the clay community, experiment, and talk ceramics in the field of art while we sit in communion and appreciate that clay brings us all to our knees in prayer to the kiln gods.

Learn more & apply to join Clay in the Expanded Field. Scholarship support is available and open to all, with specific awards for artists of color, emerging artists, and international or multicultural artists. Application deadline: February 1, 2023.