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James C. Watkins

Biography to Display: 


1973, BFA, Ceramics and Drawing, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri 

1977 MFA, Ceramics, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 



2005 Senior Fulbright Scholar and Professor, Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam 




1978-1983 Director, McKenzie Terrace Pottery Center, Lubbock, Texas  

1983-2020 ProfessorCollege of Architecture, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 

2021 Paul Whitfield Horn Professor Emeritus, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas  



James Watkins is best known for large double-walled stoneware vessels, or caldrons; he also has made teapots, platters, tiles, and other functional pots. Surface techniques include terra sigillata as well as stannous chloride fumed gold and platinum luster. Watkins experiments with alternative firing techniques, using metal and aluminum foil saggars to create black surfaces with flashes of graduating tones.  

Watkins is inspired by memories of his childhood in rural Alabamathe Southwest landscape, his African-American heritage, John Coltrane’s music, and his belief in the strength and energy of dreams.  



Public Collections to Display: 

Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana 

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York 

Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Shigaraki, Japan 

Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota 

White House Collection at the Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, Arkansas 


Bibliography to Display: 

Davis,  James T., and James C. Watkins.  Architectural Delineation: Presentation Techniques and Projects. United States: Kendall/Hunt, 2001. 

Davis, Spencer (Ed.). “James Watkins.” Ceramics Monthly, 29, no. 4 (October 1981). 

Dean, Chotsani Elaine and donald a clark. Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2022.

Hopper, Kippra D. A Meditation of Fire: The Art of James C. Watkins. United States: Texas Tech University Press, 1999. 

Knapp, Jessica (Ed.). “Skin of the Vessel.” Ceramics Monthly, 69no. 3 (March 2021). 

Sasser, Elizabeth. “James Watkins.” Ceramics Monthly, 34, no. 8 (October 1986). 

Watkins, James. “Pots Made of Memories.” Ceramics Monthly, 40, no. 6 (June-August 1992).  

Watkins, James. “Reflections on Legacy.” Studio Potter, 42, no. 1 (Winter/Spring 2014).  

Watkins, James C.Reflections Made of Memories.N.p.: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2020. 

Watkins, James and Paul Andrew Wandless. Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques: Raku, Saggar, Pit, Barrel. New York NY: Lark Books, 2004. 





Typical Marks
One-Eared Winged Rabbit Man Extended
Date: 1991
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Double Wall, Thrown
Dimensions: 18" x 25' x 25"
Surface Technique: Slip
Courtesy Treadway Toomey Auctions, Candice Groot Auction, November 12, 2016, lot # 83
Courtesy Treadway Toomey Auctions, Candice Groot Auction, November 12, 2016, lot # 83
Date: 2004
Form: Bowl
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Double Wall, Hand-Built, Thrown
Dimensions: 20" x 21" x 21"
Surface Technique: Glaze, Textured Surface
Courtesy Treadway Toomey Auctions, Candice Groot Collection, April 16, 2016, lot # 10
Courtesy Treadway Toomey Auctions, Candice Groot Collection, April 16, 2016, lot # 10
Photo: TMP

Citation: McGee, Donna. "The Marks Project." Last modified March 17, 2023.