Veronica Watkins grew up in the Kansas City, Missouri area where she was encouraged artistically from an early age. Watkins received a BFA from Northwest Missouri State University in 1996; she then went on to receive an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2000. Watkins now resides in Maryville, Missouri where she is a wife, mother, studio artist and adjunct instructor, teaching foundation art courses at Northwest Missouri State University.
“My work reflects a fascination with formal exploration and utilitarian objects. The wonder of pottery is that it has the potential to become the user’s companion each day. It is taken into the home, and into the hand of the user—a very personal space. The fired clay object is a record of a series of moments, movements and decisions, potentially permanently captured. There is a tactile, experiential connection between the maker and the user through the object. I am compelled to make and persistently hold to the commitment that beautiful handmade objects impact our existence especially as our world becomes more virtual. I am aware of the influences both visually and conceptually of the Mingei craft movement and the teachings of the Bauhaus in regard to my work. My challenge is to consider the history of pottery and try to add something personal to it through my work.
I have discovered that there are physical processes, which make me feel personally connected to my work, challenge my skills and propel ideas. These processes have been mainly throwing on the wheel and then altering the forms with the addition of hand built elements. This process sets up a marriage of the organic and geometric that is critical for me. I want the eye to move around and in and out of forms, which is done through the arrangement of planes and edges. These arrangements of form, color, shape, line and texture are evidence of a combination of absorbed visual life experiences. I see a combination of city influences from my upbringing in an urban environment paired with rural landscape components that surround me now daily. These influences appear as abstract universal symbolism, having plural meanings that relate to landscape and architecture. My formal approach seems to be a cyclical examination in the power of juxtapositions. Experimentation and improvisation continue to be important to me as I am repeatedly asking myself “What if?” working through each form. I sense a balance between the rational and spontaneous during the making process.
Some of my work reflects an interest in groupings of similar forms and forms that celebrate ritual. I think a lot about the question “What is ritual?” in our ever changing modern society. Ritual can be occasional or daily. It can relate to nourishment, food presentation and also remind us of times when families and friends gather for special events. I see historically, that set apart objects facilitate ritual and these types of objects in my opinion are some of the most meaningful and powerful art objects in existence. I feel that my process is a thoughtful conversation about how an object is set apart and how it has the power to create an atmosphere of its own. I want the work to have an intimate presence and invite the viewer to pick up the pieces through use, which is part of the tactile experience associated with the appreciation of ceramic art pottery.”