Embodied Perception: 2023 Summer Residency Session Preview

In this guest post, 2023 Summer Residency session co-organizers Bonita Kline and Marily Perry share their inspiration and ideas for Summer Residency Session IV: Embodied Perception. Additional artists anchoring the session include Hana Balaban-Pommier, Victoria Loe Hicks, Jenny Peace & Stephanie Rosendorf. Space in the session is available for artists interested in joining the group at Watershed from July 3 to 14. Learn more and apply.

Marilyn Perry


Our session provides an opportunity to fully engage our multitude of senses in order to inspire our clay practices. We will intentionally connect with Watershed’s rich natural environment to expand our sensory awareness and bring this awareness to studio based and site-specific creations.

In our culture, many of us spend our days indoors tethered to devices. Our session together will flip this emphasis – decreasing screen time and increasing immersion in nature to spark conversation and enhance our sensory experience and well-being.

The idea for the residency emerged from online studio chats. We are located from coast to coast – Oregon to New York. Zoom studio visits and dialogues have sustained us during the pandemic. Bonita and Marilyn like to ask questions … which often leads to more questions! During discussions, Bonita expressed her lifetime curiosity with tactile sensations and exploring with her fingertips as she considered what emphasizing other senses could bring to her work. Marilyn spoke about her recent experiences of ‘the beyond’ and wondered about the influence of this sense in her ceramics. We both recognized that we were thinking about shifting our sensory awareness to inform our artistic practice. How wonderful it would be to expand this conversation with other artists!

Bonita Kline


Interest in forest bathing is growing in North America. The practice originated in Japan, where it is known as shinrin-yoku, which translates to ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’. This healthful activity provides an antidote to our culture’s tech demands and ocularcentrism. Forest bathing can be a guided experience or as simple as walking in the woods while consciously connecting with our surroundings. Watershed’s 54 acre campus ideally supports this endeavor.

We are delighted to be joined by artists Stephanie Rosendorf, Victoria Loe Hicks, Hana Balaban-Pommier, and Jenny Peace. Through their work, these artists all highlight core aspects of our human experience while also referencing our natural world. Each brings an eagerness and openness to explore during the residency. 

Jenny: ‘…to share the intention of letting multi-sensory perceptions inform forms is deeply compelling at this moment in my life.’

Victoria: ‘This residency, with the invitation to foreground direct sense experience in the making process, is both exciting and a bit scary. (Scary is good!) I’m jazzed by the challenge to make work that responds directly to a specific place and time rather than making work that emerges from a lifetime’s ruminations.’

Stephanie: ‘…the chance to work more loosely and open up to ceramic processes guided by sensorial exercises and experiences is a very different approach from the more detailed and outcome-focused work I normally make. I’m excited by the possibility.’

Hana: ‘…the opportunity to work more intuitively and let go of the intellectual constructs of the moment.’

Embodied Perception is about expanding our sensory experience in ways our bodies and beings are designed to do. Through forest bathing, exercises, readings, dialogue, and informal chats, we intend to dive into what embodied experiences tell us through our work. Please join us this July as we play, converse, create, and learn from each other.

Learn more & apply to join Embodied Perception. 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.