Watershed Celebrates Ceramic Masters

Since 2007, Watershed has recognized influential ceramic artists who are innovators, leaders, and mentors within the clay community. We honor these artists as Legends via programming that shines a spotlight on their contributions and careers.

This year, Watershed is pleased to honor Wayne Higby, Jack Troy, and Paula Winokur as our newest Legends. Throughout 2017, Watershed hosted public talks, workshops, and exhibitions featuring the honorees. On October 7, we held a culminating celebration in Philadelphia to recognize all they have accomplished. The event included an awards ceremony, along with an exhibition reception at The Clay Studio. The exhibit featuring the Legends work is on view at The Clay Studio from October 6 through November 26, 2017.

During the awards ceremony, held at the historic Arch Street Meeting House, keynote speaker Glenn Adamson looked back at the Legends’ accomplishments and influence on the ceramics field. Gallerist and critic Helen Drutt English served as Master of Ceremonies. Each of the Legends received a one-of-a-kind handmade tea bowl created by artist Sin-ying Ho in a wooden box crafted by artist Jim Lawton. Watershed board member Gretchen Keyworth presented Wayne Higby with his award, Watershed founder Chris Gustin presented the award to Jack Troy, and Watershed board member Nancy Selvin presented the award to her longtime friend Paula Winokur. 

The 2017 Legends also took part in Watershed’s conversation series, Elemental Intersections. The series consisted of three discussions examining the common connections between art, environmental concerns, and our relationship to the natural world. The Legends were each featured in one of the conversations and were joined by scientists and others working in natural resource-based fields to investigate how art can illuminate environmental issues in innovative and unique ways.

The first talk on water examined the work of Paula Winokur and looked critically at how melting polar ice and rising ocean temperatures have created changes in the Gulf of Maine. Marine biologist Bob Steneck provided a scientific perspective while lobsterman Gerry Cushman discussed how the Gulf’s warming water is impacting the livelihood of Maine fishermen.

During the second talk on fire and forests, Jack Troy shared how he creates work via processes that rely on fire and wood, while ecologist Nick Fisichelli discussed Maine’s forested landscape, and Maine Guide Polly Mahoney shared about her experiences in Maine’s wilderness. 

The final talk explored the differing ways that the people of Maine relate to the state’s coastal landscape. During the conversation, Wayne Higby discussed his celebrated Landscape Bowls, which were inspired by Maine’s craggy coastline. Wayne was joined by marine geologist Joe Kelly, who spoke about the ever-changing conditions of beaches and estuaries, and Donna Loring of the Penobscot Nation, who shared about the theater, film, and music programs of Seven Eagles Media, which provides a platform for Maine Native People’s voices and experiences.

The talks were supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and were organized in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Nationally-recognized radio producer and speaker Julie Burstein facilitated the conversations. Burstein is producing a series of podcasts based on her conversations with all three Legends – we look forward to sharing these with you in the near future.