Embracing Change: 2023 Summer Residency Preview

In this guest post, 2023 Summer Residency session co-organizers Frank Pitcher & JoAnn Schnabel share their inspiration and ideas for Session III: Embracing Change. Additional artists anchoring the session include Joe Bova, Linda Casbon, David East, Jim Lawton, Jane Shellenbarger & Holly Walker. Space in the session is available for artists interested in joining the group at Watershed from June 19 to 30. Learn more and apply to join this session.

Dark brown ceramic sculpture with terracotta embellishment

JoAnn Schnabel


I’m not sure who told me as a child that the only constant in life was change, but it certainly is true. During our Watershed session, we will embrace how our lives have recently transformed – socially, politically, and physically – and how we can embrace those changes in our studio practice. With this diverse group of sculptors and potters, collaborations will take shape organically as we find our way together in the studio. The group will also have opportunities to discover shared topics related to personal and collective changes that warrant discussion. Informal talks about work in progress, affectionately called “pot on the spot”, will bring new perspectives and insights to our own work.

We are excited to anchor the session with artists David East, Jane Shellenbarger, Jim Lawton, Holly Walker, Joe Bova, and Linda Casbon. During the first few days at Watershed, all participating artists will decide how we will spend our time together, what kilns we want to fire, and how much or how little each artist wants to collaborate in the studio. Play, humor, and experimentation will be embedded in all our activities.

Man in green shirt prepares work outside a kiln.

Frank Pitcher


We (Frank and JoAnn) met in 1991 at the first woodfire conference at the University of Iowa and quickly realized our many shared connections. We both worked at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, had connections to Iowa, and later served on the Watershed Board of Trustees. We have remained close friends ever since and often talk about the compromises we must make in our own studios to accommodate physical changes as we age.

JoAnn is Professor Emeritus at the University of Northern Iowa with an MFA from Louisiana State University. Frank is a studio potter in Deer Isle, Maine where he has recently completed building his second large Naborigama wood kiln. He holds an MFA from the University of Iowa.

Learn more & apply to join Embracing Change. 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.