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Monday, July 13, 2020
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Springville potter named 2019 Resident Artist

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Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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When potter Alison Kelley Watson learned she was ther2019 Resident Artist for Springville city, she was shocked. This wasn’trsomething she’d applied for or known anything about, and now she’ll receive arplaque and get to ride in the Art City Days parade.

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To be named Resident Artist in a town nicknamed “ArtrCity” is quite an honor. When she and her family moved here from the D.C. areareight and a half years ago, the moniker “Art City” really stuck out to her andrshe loved the vibe here.

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Even though they are now completely immersed in therannual celebrations, as newcomers, Watson and her family didn’t know what ArtrCity Days was. “One morning there was a pig dyingroutside my window—a hot air balloon pig. That made me laugh because my dad usedrto say certain things would happen when pigs fly. Coming from D.C., I didn’trknow how cool these small town celebrations were.”

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The theme across all of Watson’srpieces is nature. “Sometimes that’s reflected in subtle hues in the glaze thatrreminds me of the ocean and sometimes it’s carving mountains or trees into myrwork in black and white. But nature feeds my soul, and I think that comesrthrough in everything that I make.” 
rArt has always been an intrinsic part of who Watson is. As a child, and livingrin Washington, D.C., she used to draw little figures and animals under a secretrflap of wallpaper near her bed.

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Known as the kid who liked to draw, Watson’s fourthrgrade teacher brought in rolls of paper and art supplies and asked her tordecorate the classroom door in a design reminiscent of Charlotte’s Web, the book they had been reading as a class.

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And later, in high school, one of Watson’s artrprojects was stolen off the wall of the art classroom. When her teacher toldrher about it, she was flattered. It made her happy knowing someone liked itrenough to want to keep it.

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Her first foray into ceramics was in a high schoolrclass, but, to Watson’s disappointment, they never used wheels, focusingrinstead on handbuilding. She didn’t get to use a wheel until she was an artrmajor at Ricks College. “I met the ceramicsrteacher’s assistant in the student center a few days before the semesterrstarted. As part of our first date, I used the wheel for the first time. Nowrwe’re married with four kids.”

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According to Watson, that teacher’srassistant, her husband Andy, is much better at the technical side of pottery,rlike kiln firing. Those four children, ranging in age from six to seventeen,rhave embraced their mom’s potter’s lifestyle. They each engage in various formsrof art and they help her in various ways, like setting up and taking down shows,rand doing studio assistant work. “My kids…(give) me honest feedback when I ask orrdon’t ask for it.”

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It wasn’t until December 2017 that she was finally inra position in her life to turn this long-held hobby into a career: “When my youngest kid started kindergarten that’s whenrI really hit it hard. This had always been the plan in the back of my mind, andrsuddenly the voice in my head was saying ‘Okay, let’s do this now!’”

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 Even though she bought her own wheel inrcollege, she didn’t have a kiln to match until about three years ago.

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She started out becoming involved in every artisticropportunity she could find. Applying and being accepted into several shows,rlike the Utah Art Market, the Beehive Bazaar, and the Hobble Creek BarnrBoutique, has allowed Watson the “unexpected perk” of getting to connect withrlots of people.

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Mugs Watson makes for sale at Zion National Park.
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She now makes custom mugs for Hobble Creek CoffeerCompany, and sells pieces in both Lemon and Sage Market here in Springville andralso in a shop at the mouth of Zion National Park.

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“The highest compliments come from peoplerwho have bought a piece or two for themselves, and they feel the love andrcraftsmanship that I’ve put into it. They use it every day and it becomes arpart of their home and life.”

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The artist’s journey hasn’t been without difficultyrfor Watson. Also working as a ski instructor, her future as a potter was inrjeopardy after a skiing accident last winter left her with a severely brokenrarm. There were so many breaks that the doctor said it was like putting arpuzzle back together, and he expressed concern that the nerves would sustainrpermanent damage.

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After spending days in the hospital and several weeksrbarely able to move or even hold a pencil, Watson made healing her body herrfull-time job. It has taken several months to get back to something of a normalrpotter’s life, but registering for a couple of shows back when she was at herrworst pushed her to strengthen her arm.

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“The injury did ofrcourse affect my business, and I’m still playing catch up from that time off.rMy arm still hurts when I center the clay and really put muscle into it,”rWatson says.

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Even though it took Watson a couple of years to reallyrsettle in and feel at home here in this area, she couldn’t be happier in thisrlittle slice of the world. “Now I’mrSpringville’s biggest fan and I think we’ll be here forever. I love this place!rThe warmth and friendliness of people here is the best part of all.”

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She can be found on Facebook and Instagramr@AlisonWatsonPottery.

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Handmade mugs by Alison Watson.
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