Watershed’s Summer Residency sessions offer artists uninterrupted time to focus on their practices in our state-of-the-art ceramics studio. During a session, up to sixteen artists form a creative community while living and working on campus. Participants enjoy 24-hour studio access, comfortable accommodations, and delicious meals.
Organizing artists develop the themes for each session and invite a small group of artists to anchor the session with them. Additional artists with an interest in the session theme then apply to join them for two weeks at Watershed.
Find the 2023 summer session descriptions and the list of artists anchoring each session below. The annual application deadline is February 1.
Session I: Clay in the Expanded Field, May 22 – June 2
The artists in this session will bring their cross-disciplinary experiences with installation, painting, performance, fiber, and temporal work to bear in a rich exchange that explores the role of clay in contemporary art. Artists working with clay engage the medium in myriad ways while balancing the need for technical prowess with novel approaches to making. Explore how clay’s inherent qualities help manifest ideas, build meaning, and add to your work’s content.
Session II: Building Resilience, June 5 – 16
As we grapple with an increasingly volatile and unpredictable climate, art can facilitate contemplation, community engagement, and action around the environmental crises of our times. This residency provides an opportunity for a group of artists to re-imagine resilience in their communities and artistic practices. Participants will work alongside one another in the studio while discussing how community engagement can take shape, how to maintain ethical and inclusive practices, and how ceramists can develop more sustainable relationships with the limited natural resources needed for their work.
Session III: Embracing Change, June 19 – 30
For many of us, the past several years have been marked by considerable uncertainty due to political, cultural, environmental, and social challenges, as well as personal transitions. This session provides space to explore how creative practice is influenced by periods of significant change. Through formal and informal conversations, participating artists will consider how personal and societal shifts impact their lives inside and outside the studio while offering one another support and feedback.
Session IV: Embodied Perception, July 3 – 14
Our bodies are designed to thrive in the natural world but many of us spend the majority of our time indoors tethered to devices. By intentionally connecting with surrounding environs, artists in this session will re-engage their senses and mindfully interpret their resulting experiences via studio-based and site-specific work. Watershed’s 54-acre campus of fields, forests, and streams provides an ideal setting for this embodied exploration. The supportive group of participants will take open-ended approaches to the session theme through individual work and collective activities, including forest bathing, readings, and discussions.
Session V: Research & Practice, July 24 – August 4
Organized by: Bridget Fairbank
With: Amanda Bury, Rachel De Conde, Neil Forrest, Jeni Hansen, Mireille Perron, Amélie Proulx, Lindsay Rogers & Alana Wilson
Artists grapple with a constant interplay of ideas and execution, materiality and content, and historical contextualization with personal aesthetics. Finished work that deftly synthesizes these elements belies countless hours of study, analysis, and experimentation. Research-centric aspects of artistic practice strengthen the creative process, yet ceramists rarely find opportunities to examine and share how conceptual labor factors into their work. During this session, join a group of ceramists interested in social practice and artwork as a vehicle for cultural change to discuss, dissect, and support the research that feeds your process.
Session VI: Collectivity, August 21 – September 1
Join a group of makers in the studio who share a desire to build creative networks that facilitate community engagement. Many ceramists have an inherent interest in their work’s potential to spark connection and facilitate interaction. Clay as a medium lends itself to collaboration through the making and firing process. Outside the studio, ceramic tableware supports opportunities for gathering, breaking bread, and engaging with one another. During the session, all of these processes will converge as participating artists discuss common challenges and questions they face while working to build meaningful connections among populations of diverse backgrounds and interests. The group’s two-week experiment in creative community will culminate in a celebratory dinner and exchange of commemorative ceramic pieces.