Not long ago, Nurse Bronwyn Watson lived on her 10 acre farm just outside of Siler City. Years ago, she had attended the San Francisco Art Institute, made baskets, did some printing and temp jobs to make ends meet. Then, at 40, she decided to attend nursing school and pursued a health care career, most recently at UNC Hospital. She specialized in home health and hospice.
“I was sitting in my little hobby farm and did a pastel of a sea turtle swimming up out of the depths,” Watson relates. It seemed to represent rising up out of a difficult time in my life. Several years later, I sold my farm and started my studio with that name.” The Green Turtle Studios, in Siler City’s vibrant arts community, is a spacious and well-appointed facility which Bronwyn shares with other artists. Here she concentrates on ceramic creations, all hand built from white or brown stoneware. She creates unique mugs, tiles and mosaics. The pieces are colorful – She employs under glazes, slips and stains and other techniques to attain an organic richness.
“I enjoy working in 3D,” she explains. “Clay is very forgiving – I can fix my mistakes.” “Working with my hands is so satisfying.” Bronwyn’s subject matter is best described as nature fantasy. “My work rises out of a desire for emotional expression and involves the natural world as that is where I find a sense of solace and connectedness,” she stresses. “Recently my niece visited with her 2 small children and we had a week of fun and adventure. After they left, I unexpectedly started making narrative tiles with little fantasy mice on them. This led to a new series which has whimsical and fairytale like qualities. These depict mice which are humanized in the way animals are in children’s books. They are usually involved doing things in their day to day lives in a light hearted way. “The animals and plants I depict, are meant to give a sense of intimacy and hopefully also show my love and affection for the subject matter.”
Bronwyn’s mugs range in price from $18 to $22 and the tiles are $45 to $95. They are available in The Green Turtle Studio at 133 N. Chatham Ave. in Siler City. She has shown her work at area art festivals and farmer’s markets, and she makes her debut the first two weekends in December at the Chatham Studio Tour.
“I want people to smile when they see my art,” Bronwyn Watson says. Visitors to The Green Turtle Studio during the Tour surely will.
Interview by: Vidabeth Benson and Forrest Greenslade