About Mary Watson
Material learning, exploration and education are important to Mary Watson as an artist, both the development of her own skill as a ceramic artist and the education of others. She enjoys working hands-on with clay and people, exploring material learning to create objects that tell stories about the communities and identities surrounding their making. Mary loves working with clay due to its versatility and broad possibilities. Clay is such an interesting material due to its archaeological importance. Ceramic objects make up the histories of civilisations, they share narratives surrounding the lives and cultures of their creators.
Mary is running a workshop on the 10th July.
I love working with earthenware clays and have become really interested in using traditional hand build, coiling techniques which are practiced in slightly different forms across West Africa. Coming out of successive national and local lockdowns, I have loved the simplicity of the process, so few tools are needed and there is very little, if any, material waste. It is all so easily actioned from a very small scraped together lockdown home-studio.
Mary takes inspiration from historic ceramics of diverse cultures such as the ancient southwest Americas and the Islamic world. Her interest in ancient ceramics have been heightened due to recent involvement in a research project with Durham University’s Archaeology department, researching ‘Combed Ware’ jars from the Early Bronze Age Levant region. This research is helping us to understand the beginnings of industry in the region and the people’s way of life at the time.
In recent years Mary has focused on developing her technical skills, working with clay to make functional objects. She creates elegant wheel thrown forms which are embellished using colour, texture and pattern to imbue human characteristics and decorative design. She is currently undertaking an MA in ceramics at the University of Sunderland, where she also works as ceramics technician. Her current research is driven towards making conceptual sculptural work, integrating a participatory mode of working.