Earth, Water, and Fire: 2017 Summer Session I Preview

In this guest post, artist and session leader Berry Matthews shares her plans and reasons for organizing Watershed 2017 Residency Session I: Earth, Water, and Fire.  Several spots are still available for those interested in joining the group from June 4-16.  Additional participants include guest artist Trisha Coates and AIA members Rosette Gault, Elizabeth Garber, Roy Pearson, and Joan Watson.  Learn more and register.

A.Fire on Ice before burning

“Fire on Ice” installation by Berry Matthews

I have been to Watershed four times. The first time was soon after I had lost my teaching job, my dad and my boyfriend. I was pretty depressed, but Watershed gave me a wonderful place to work hard and move forward. I still remember working at night on an installation with a large fan on high to keep the mosquitoes from devouring me. (I am so glad the studio is now screened in!) Many years later when I came back with a group organized by Paula Winokur, there were new quarters for artists and a bathroom building with a fabulous tile wall. We were there during Salad Days and I remember helping out in the kitchen peeling carrots for the huge crowd, and making a fire installation. I came back soon after that and again for a fall salt kiln firing, each time enjoying the wonderful fresh meals, and a great sense of support and friendship. I love the earthiness of Watershed! Each time it feels a little more like home.

B.Fire on Ice 2010

Artists lighting Matthews’ installation

I can get a lot of work done in 2 weeks at Watershed and still enjoy a late afternoon swim in the nearby pond. All the materials are there to mix my own clay and glazes and the staff is ready to help when I need other materials. I am looking forward to creating another fire installation using beeswax on clay that everyone is invited to light with me. (I am taking a poi class now…so who knows maybe some fire dancing too!)

D. FIre on Ice after burning

Installation after burning

Each time I come I have learned new ideas to use from other artists’ approaches to clay (who knew a heat gun could be so useful?) During Session I, there will be artists at Watershed who make large installations with paper clay and artists who are primarily potters, but who use their functional work to extend conversations about art and how we approach it.

I look forward to meeting new people with new ideas and to seeing how our session uses the time at Watershed expand and grow our work. And to making new friends!

To learn more and sign up for Earth, Wind, and Fire – visit our 2017 Summer Residency page.  There is room for any artist to join this session.