Paul Whitfield Horn Professor James Watkins
College of Architecture
James Watkins, dubbed the Grandmaster of Clay by an African writer, is an internationally renowned ceramic artist. His work is included in the White House Collection of American Crafts, the Shigaraki Institute of Ceramic Studies in Shigaraki, Japan, and in two museums of the Smithsonian Institution.
During a recent conversation on the TTU campus, Watkins, a professor in the College of Architecture, comes across as both a consummate artist and teacher. Teaching students the importance of seeing as a major component of the creative process is one of his major goals, he says. "The idea is to become focused on everything around you," he says. "If you have that awareness you never run out of ideas. You just look around you."
Watkins is grateful for what TTU has given him: the stability to create his art and also the opportunity to travel. The recipient of two faculty development grants, he has been a Fulbright Fellow in Vietnam and has also visited Japan and China. During one of his trips to Asia he realized that what he was doing in his travels was "collecting experiences" which he then transformed into art.
When asked if his students love his classes, James replies: "I don't know. I love them."
Watkins was named Texas Tech's newest Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, the highest honor bestowed upon a faculty member, by the Board of Regents on Feb. 24, 2006.