Photo Credit: Bonni Oakes

James C. Watkins is a ceramic artist who has worked with clay for over 40 years. His work is held in 25 permanent collections, including the White House Collection of American Crafts at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Shigaraki Institute of Ceramic Studies in Shigaraki, Japan, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, the Tweed Museum in Duluth, Minnesota, the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Houston, Texas. Watkins’ work has been widely exhibited in 47 solo exhibitions and 172 group exhibitions.   

Watkins is a Texas Tech University Horn Distinguished Professor Emeritus. The Horn Professorship is the highest honor Texas Tech University may bestow on members of its faculty. Horn Professorships are granted to professors in recognition of national and international distinction for outstanding research or other creative scholarly achievements. He was a 2005 Senior Fulbright Scholar, teaching in Vietnam at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture. Watkins is the 2019 recipient of the HCCC Texas Master Award presented by the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston, Texas.   

Watkins is the author of the self-published book, Reflections Made of Memories. He is also the co-author of the book Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques published by Sterling Publishing, co-authored with Paul Andrew Wandless. Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques has been translated into both German and Chinese. Watkins is also the co-author of Architectural Delineation: Presentation Techniques and Projects published by Kendall Hunt Publishing, co-authored with James T. Davis. 

His work is the subject of a book entitled A Meditation of Fire: The Art of James C. Watkins by Kippra D. Hopper, published by Texas Tech University Press. Watkins has written numerous articles for national and international magazines, including Ceramics Monthly, Studio Potter, New Ceramics: The European Ceramics Magazine, China Ceramic Artist Magazine, and NCECA Journal. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from Indiana University. 

James C. Watkins, Bottle Form, Stoneware, wrapped in baling wire, fired with Gold Luster, and fumed with Stannous Chloride, then etched with a glass etching solution, 2021, 26” H. X 22” W. Photo by James C. Watkins.
James C. Watkins, Double-Walled Caldron, Preening Posture, saggar fired and fumed with Gold Luster, 2021, 29” H. X 23” W. Photo by James C. Watkins.