A Meditation of Fire: The Art of James C Watkins
Among the highlights of this book documenting twenty years in the life and work of a major Texas artist is Watkins’s creation of the double-walled caldron that has become his forte. Offering an extensive photographic explanation of Watkins’s techniques, the book shows how the vessels are built, how various materials are used to create different surfaces, how clay slips are made from organic materials collected at the various sites Watkins often visits in Texas, and how both technology and serendipity are part of the firing process. Describing the construction and the aesthetics of Watkins’s pottery, the book also illustrates the influence of place and experience―both externally and in dreams and memories. Drawing upon his love for the land and nature of the American Southwest, Watkins also derives inspiration from memories of growing up in rural Alabama in the 1960s; the influence of various teachers; his African-American heritage; and his belief in the power of dreams. Readers will discover the rare beauty of parts of the American Southwest not often seen and how those landscapes translate into the aesthetic. Watkins, a professor in the Texas Tech University College of Architecture, blends the subject of his teaching―drawing―into his ceramic work. His work has been included in the White House Collection of American Crafts exhibit and in the Smithsonian Institution.