J. Paul Watkins is Professor Emeritus of Art Education at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He taught art for nine years in high schools in Virginia and Tennessee and Art Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville for 31 years. He retired from the University in1998.
Professor Watkins earned degrees from Tennessee Wesleyan College, East Tennessee State University and The University of Tennessee. He served as president of the Tennessee Art Education Association (1981-1983) and received the Tennessee State Art Educator Award at the National Art Education Association Conference in 1983.
Although painting was his undergraduate major, clay became his medium of choice when he began teaching the clay/sculpture course in the Art Education program in 1972. In 1974, he built a 16 cubic foot, sprung-arch, down draft propane kiln in his back yard. That year he started the Red Shed Pottery. He has continued making clay forms for the past 28 years. After rebuilding his kiln twice, it is now enlarged to 30 cubic feet and uses natural gas as fuel. He works with a stoneware clay body fired at 2381 degrees Fahrenheit.
His clay work includes utilitarian vessels and sculptural forms. His pieces have been exhibited in numerous one-person and competitive shows. His work is in many private collections in the United States and Japan. He has traveled extensively in both Europe and Japan visiting studios of significant potters. He visited the three Leach Family Potteries in England, the pottery villages of Tokoname, Mashiko, Kasama and Shigeraki, as well as potters in Nara, Kamakura and Kyoto. During the summer of 1998, he exhibited 40 pieces of work in Muroran, Hokkaido, Japan. In conjunction with this exhibition, he demonstrated techniques of making pottery for members of the Muroran Pottery Association.