Vermilion Arts Guild's Mary Waters: At the Wheel
People joke with Mary Waters about her “New York attitude.” The petite lady can be direct, focused and sometimes reserved. Get to know her and you'll discover she’s unique, a true artist and can capture your attention with her vision as well as her art. “It's all part of getting to know me,” said Mary. Creating art has been long been an important part of her life.
Born in Sandusky, Mary attended the Cleveland Institute of Art for pottery and textile design. She then moved to New York where she designed home textile fabrics for over 30 years. For a time, she moved between New York, New Jersey, and Ohio before making Huron home and the place where she reconnected with her first love: pottery.
Together with her nephew, Scott Blair she launched Lake Waters Pottery where they work as “partners in pottery”. The studio is located in Mary’s garage, which allows her to create whenever she likes. ”It’s so close and convenient!” she says.
When Mary takes a seat at the potter’s wheel, she might have a plan but also knows that sometimes the clay just decides on what form it will take. “It guides the potter toward that shape,” said Mary. This is why bowls are among her favorite pieces to create. “It’s almost like a working on canvas,” she said. "You can create so many different illusions." Scott and Mary’s pottery is also different in that they use a sleeker glaze over the more common matte finish.
Mary is also known for her black porcelain “lily vases,” another favorite, despite the tremendous amount of work they require. “I have a hard time letting go of these pieces and my watercolor paintings because of the connection I make with them as they come together,” she said.
Mary finds the Vermilion Arts Guild to be a great place to interact with other artists. “That’s so important,” she notes. ”If you’re totally isolated, it’s difficult to be creative.” She values the high quality of interaction and sense of community the Arts Guild provides and not always guaranteed in other places.
Her favorite moments as an artist include interacting with people. Mary remembers one time when she ran into a former customer at a show in Bay Village who bought a pot from her years ago, naming it "Mary’s Pot." “Even the smallest recognition makes the experience of creating something for someone special," she said.
Outside of the Arts Guild, Mary enjoys gardening, sitting on her patio, taking in the beautiful view of trees and a pond, and having dinner with friends and family at Vermilion’s own Touché. She also loves Venice, Italy and hopes to return there one day. She is a member of both the Firelands Area Art League and the Vermilion Arts Guild where she exhibits and sells both watercolor paintings and pottery.
Author: Dana Smith, Main Street Vermilion Intern