Posts Tagged ‘Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts’


Extraordinary Executive Director Retiring

July 14, 2022

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts Executive Director to RetireThank you Fran!

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, located in Edgecomb, has a long tradition of providing amazing experiences for artists and educators. In January of this year I provided a blog post that shares their story.

The Board of Trustees announces that Executive Director Fran Rudoff will retire in early 2023.

Fran Rudoff

Rudoff began her tenure as Watershed’s executive director in 2013. During her time leading the organization, she spearheaded substantial improvements and additions to the campus. Under her guidance, the Center’s Watershed NOW capital campaign has enabled the organization to open a new gallery space; create year-round offices for staff; host outdoor installations on 22 newly-acquired acres; build a Studio Annex, complete with a wood shop and workshop space; offer new housing for staff; and construct Watershed’s new 7,500 square foot Windgate Studio, the cornerstone of the capital campaign.

In addition to these transformative campus changes, Watershed’s assets have grown significantly under Rudoff’s leadership, $1.2 million in 2013 to over $5 million in 2021, in addition to a $3 million operating endowment. The organization now offers more residency and workshop programs and supports more artists with scholarships than ever before.

Rudoff has also deepened Watershed’s commitment to antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. She worked steadily to increase access to artist programs by creating new funding streams, developing outreach initiatives, and building relationships with partner organizations. A significant partnership with The Color Network (TCN) has resulted in two residency sessions funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Nearly thirty artists of color who are taking part in TCN’s mentorship program convened on the Watershed campus in 2021 and 2022 to work together in person and grow their creative practices. Watershed also serves as TCN’s fiscal sponsor as they grow from a national affiliation of artists into an independent nonprofit.

“In my years of experience with non-profit boards, I’ve never met a more competent and energized executive director than Fran Rudoff,” shared Watershed Board President Bernie Toale. “Fran easily juggles nine things at one time with efficiency and grace. Her achievements over the past ten years are hard to number, but the crowning glory is the construction of our new $3 million Windgate Studio built during COVID lockdown.”

Prior to her time at Watershed, Rudoff worked for the State of Maine in regional planning and resource management, followed by nearly fifteen years as Executive Director of KIDS Consortium, a nonprofit that supported service learning opportunities for Maine students. Rudoff brought her expertise in education to bear on Watershed’s K-12 outreach programs by creating new professional development opportunities for Maine art teachers to hone their ceramics skills and reach more students. The popular grant-funded programs have positively impacted the artistic development of thousands of Maine youth.

All of these accomplishments are buttressed by Rudoff’s abiding care for Watershed’s community. While the organization is based in the small town of Edgecomb, Watershed’s extended network of friends, alumni, and supporters stretches from coast to coast. Rudoff forged lasting and meaningful connections with artists, collectors, and supporters around the country.

“It has been my privilege to steward Watershed over the past decade,” she shared. “The organization’s mission and focus on artists is more important than ever. I am filled with gratitude for the many professional relationships and friendships that have become so important to me and for the opportunity to contribute to Watershed’s growth.”

The search process for a new executive director has begun, with an expectation of having a new leader in place at the beginning of 2023.

“A visionary new director will bring a fresh perspective to this leadership role during a pivotal time in the organization’s development,” said Bernie Toale. “With a new state-of-the-art studio, the stage is set to expand our signature residency program and explore the next chapter of innovative and inclusive programming.”

Watershed seeks candidates with demonstrated fundraising and financial management experience, proven success managing a motivated team, an appreciation for the power of art and artmaking, and an understanding of artist residencies. The full position description and application information can be found on the organization’s website at

About Watershed

Founded in 1986 on the site of a former brick factory, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts’ mission is to provide artists with time and space to explore ideas with clay. The organization was founded by artists with a common vision: to offer a supportive and enriching environment where artists could fully engage in creative practice while working with clay. This vision meets a critical need in the clay community and remains at the heart of Watershed’s programs.

The organization’s internationally-recognized residency model prioritizes the development of creative community; artists work alongside one another in an open-concept studio, collaborate on kiln firings, share meals, and forge lasting personal and professional connections. In addition to the residency program, Watershed’s extensive atmospheric wood and gas kilns draw artists from the region, and guest artist workshops offer hands-on learning experiences led by nationally-known ceramists. Watershed’s K-12 education program provides popular professional development workshops for Maine art educators and connects teaching artists with regional schools.


Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts

August 16, 2018

K-12 Teachers Sculpt Animals

Claudia Olds Goldie (right) assists workshop participants with their projects

On August 2 and 3, seventeen art educators from Maine and around the northeast relished an opportunity to become students again. Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts welcomed the teachers for a summer workshop on sculpting animals in clay. Boston-based artist and art teacher Claudia Olds Goldie led the participants through a variety of techniques and projects that can be adapted for all grade levels, class sizes, and classroom situations. Through demonstrations and hands-on practice, participants learned how to create a menagerie of animals—wild, imaginary, and domestic—that can stand alone or evolve as sculptural pottery.

Local teaching artist Liz Proffetty generously hosted the Watershed workshop at her Neighborhood Clay studio in Damariscotta. Over the two days, the educators enjoyed hours of studio practice and individualized attention from Claudia. The group drew inspiration from animal illustrations, photographs, and contemporary and historical sculpture. Dragons, cats, birds, dogs, and rabbits populated the tabletops as the participants molded and shaped their creatures.

Rabbit sculpture made during the workshop

“Learning from experts allows art teachers to bring their craft and their student’s craft to the next level,” shared workshop participant Lisa Gilman. “I learned so much from Claudia. Her mastery of clay is beautiful and she is very open about her processes. This will directly impact my teaching!”

Watershed originally recruited Olds Goldie to lead a figurative sculpture workshop for teachers in 2017. She returned this summer to cover sculpting animals at the request of last year’s workshop participants. In addition to being an exceptional teacher, Claudia is an accomplished artist. She has received numerous fellowships and grants, and shows her work nationally. She teaches sculpture at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and is an instructor at Harvard’s University’s Ceramics Program.

The workshop is part of a series of workshops for K-12 educators hosted by Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and supported by a generous donor. Learn more about the Center’s programs. 

If you have questions please email Claire Brassil or call the center 882-6075.

“Skin Deep” by Claudia Olds Goldie


Figurative Sculpture Workshop

June 8, 2017

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts

Figurative Sculpture Workshop
Dates:  July 20-21
Location: Lincoln Academy, 81 Academy Hill Road, Newcastle, ME  Map
Workshop Fee*: $195 for out-of-state teachers ; $95 for Maine teachers
Optional Housing**: $40 per night
This workshop is for middle and high school art educators.
During this two-day workshop, artist and art educator Claudia Olds Goldie will present a number of figurative ceramic sculpture projects that can be adapted for all grade levels, class sizes, and classroom situations.  Claudia will draw from her experiences as both a long-time teacher and as a professional artist. Through demonstrations and hands-on practice, participants will learn how to create a hollow standing figure, a proportionate, expressive head, and a life-size hand.

Because the course will be held off-site at Lincoln Academy, the local high school (rather than at Watershed), please be prepared to transport your work home as greenware at the end of the workshop. Participants may choose to stay at Lincoln Academy during the workshop or commute.

 Contact hours will be provided by Watershed for this workshop.
*Includes clay and lunch on Thursday and Friday.
** Housing is at Lincoln Academy in double occupancy rooms with twin beds.  Participants must bring their own bedding.  Fee includes breakfast.

About Claudia Olds Goldie

Claudia is a 2017 Mass Cultural Council finalist. She has received a Kiln God Residency from Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, a residency fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, and a nomination for a Boston Foundation Brother Thomas fellowship. She has shown nationally in shows such as the NCECA Biennial in Houston, SOFA Chicago, numerous State of Clay National Juried exhibitions, Ohio Craft Museum’s “Figure It” Invitational, and “Contemporary Figurative Sculpture” at Santa Fe Clay Gallery. She shows her work at Boston Sculptors Gallery and Frederick Holmes Gallery of Contemporary and Modern Art in Seattle.

Claudia received her BFA from Boston University College of Visual Arts. She celebrates her 40th year teaching sculpture at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and is an instructor at Harvard’s University’s Ceramic Program.

Her work has been published in 500 Figures in Clay, 500 Figures in Clay Vol. 2 by Nan Smith, Sculpting Clay, and Low Fire: Other Ways to Work in Clay, both by Leon Nigrosh, and Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times, and American Craft magazines.


Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts

June 15, 2013

Newcastle, Maine

A SimpsonEver wonder what they do at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle? This blog post provides you with information on the mid-coast facility. Watershed was established in 1986 with a dual purpose: to provide time and space for clay artists and to promote education and awareness regarding ceramic arts among the general public.

Twenty-six years later, over 1,200 artists from across the nation and abroad have experienced residencies at Watershed. During their 2-week residencies, artists live on our 32-acre facility in rural, mid-coast Maine, with room, board and 24/7 access to studio space provided. Without the distractions of day-to-day living, they are able to focus on their art and allow their creative energies to explore the medium anew.

Traveling clay program

Maine art teachers in Maine may know about Watershed through our “Mudmobile” programs.  The “Mudmobile” is a traveling ceramics resource center in a van that provides engaging experiences working in clay to schools, community centers and senior citizen facilities.  Thousands of young people and adults around the state have experienced clay through Mudmobile programs, including public events such as the Common Ground Fair, for over 15 years!

Mudmobile instructors are professional artists who share their joy of working in clay with students and community members. Watershed instructors partner with the host site to create a lesson plan that ties into the needs of each program.  The focus is on process not just product, with clay lessons that connect to science, math, history or cultural studies.

Our fun and educational ceramic projects are designed to introduce children and adults to historical uses of clay, current art making in clay, Maine’s geology and environmental stewardship. The materials used in Mudmobile classes make use of Maine’s natural resources. Students use glacial marine clay with food-safe, nontoxic glazes.

If you are interested in having the Mudmobile visit your school contact Watershed to reserve a program by contacting Fran Rudoff, Executive Director of Watershed by emailing her at

Community Presentations: Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Crowds w_ food 2Watershed also strives to provide opportunities for Maine residents and visitors to experience and appreciate ceramic art in all its forms.  Resident artists share and demonstrate their work in public venues during the summer and fall months.  Our annual “signature” summer event, Salad Days, gives local residents the chance to enjoy a variety of pottery, incredible local food, lively music, conversations with neighbors and resident artists, and a lot of good fun.

Salad Days: July 13 – Visit Watershed and learn about programs first-hand.  Join us for Salad Days 2013!  Relax to live music while eating lunch under a shady tent at flower-laden tables.  A $35 donation to Watershed (which supports our programming!) entitles you to a handmade salad plate created by ceramic artist Tess Stilwell and the chance to enjoy a buffet of salads (locally grown produce, prepared by Watershed artists and local restaurants). After eating, visit resident artists’ studios and explore Watershed’s thirty-two acres of art-filled meadows, woods, gardens, and the neighboring sheep farm.  Potters and ceramic artists will be on-site performing demos and visitors of all ages may try working with clay.

Concurrent with Salad Days, Watershed will also be hosting our annual Invitational Pottery Sale, along with a Serving Bowl Exhibit. Shop for unusual and lively works of art made by ceramic artists from around the country.

Finally, appraiser Jane Prentiss, of Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers, will be at Watershed providing appraisals for consignment.  Find out what your antiques, art, and collectables are worth.  For details, visit our appraisal event page.  Please note that advance sign up is necessary.

Artist Presentations: June 19 and July 30 – Watershed is partnering with the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell (and the Kennebec Valley Arts Association) to host public presentations and receptions for ceramic artists who are in residence at Watershed this summer!

June 19 features Patti Warashina, Carol Guthro and Peter Olsen from Seattle, who will be sharing their distinct styles and aesthetic perspectives.

July 30 features Eva Campagne from Montana and Amanda Small from North Carolina.  Their session is entitled, “N.E.W.”  Nature. Eight. Ways.  While at Watershed, they will be investigating repetition and patterns in the natural world and how it inspires, influences and forms the way they work with clay.

Fall Workshop: September 27-29  Join Thaddeus J (TJ) Erdahl for a beautiful weekend at Watershed! You can explore creating figurative sculptures that imply a sense of personal history. The technical focus will be on developing rich surface layers. Demonstrations will deal with the entire surface process from leather-hard slip and engobe application techniques to post bisque water erosion, sanding procedures, and wash application. Pieces will be finished with post firing heat set encaustic and wax procedures. Test tiles and pinched mini test “heads” will be used for further surface experimentation. Participants need to bring a small leather hard sculpture. Work will be fired to 04. All levels are welcome!!

To learn more about registration and details please go to:

Boys at work

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