Mark Lambert →, 2024 IOC Featured Artist, will jury submissions in September.

Artists will ship accepted works to Watermark in October.

Green glazed coffee mug. Wheel thrown and altered mid range porcelain. Cone 6 electric fired. -Nick DeVries

2023 FIRST PLACE
Green Mug”
Nick DeVries

Mike Strumbas "Lost Age Ewer"Cone 10 soda fired porcelain, with water etching, slip trailing, and gold luster. Soda fired stoneware plinth.

2022 FIRST PLACE
“Lost Age Ewer”
Mike Strumbas

2020 Special Jurors Exhibit
In Memory of Bill Gossman (1953-2020)
Vessel – Soda Glazed Stoneware
Bill Gossmann

2019 FIRST PLACE
HARLOW PURCHASE AWARD
“Nathanial” Lidded Beast with Spoon
Molly Uravitch

2018 FIRST PLACE
HARLOW PURCHASE AWARD
Large Bottle with Bird & Fence
David Swenson

*No exhibit 2021, 2017 & 2016

"It's Only Clay" Explained

The It’s Only Clay (IOC) exhibit is a juried ceramics competition focusing on, and dedicated to, functional clay vessels. Each submission for IOC is judged in four areas: function, form/aesthetic, craftsmanship, and surface design.

IOC features a lecture and workshop by the guest artist, and a juried exhibition of functional ceramics at Watermark Art Center. “It’s Only Clay” event is a partnership between the Watermark Art Center and Bemidji State University Department of Technology Art and Design.

The 19th Annual  IOC will feature a workshop and select works on display by Guest Artist and 2024 Juror, Mark Lambert.

Jurors for IOC include some of the most familiar names in the Ceramic Arts. Previous jurors include: Brad Bachmeier, Marion Angelica, Matthew Krousey, Butch Holden, Karin Kraemer, Andrea Leila Denecke, Guillermo Cuellar, Simon Levin, Richard Bresnahan, Linda Christianson, Jeff Oestreich, Robert Briscoe, Bill Gossman, and Bob and Cheryl Husby. The 2020 exhibit was comprised of work by several of these past jurors. There was no competition component for 2020.

Prize money is awarded for first, second and third places. Additional purchase awards are made for work to be added to the Margaret H. Harlow Collection at BSU.

Awards Explained

2023 | 2022  | 2020 | 2019  | 2018  | 2015  | 2014  | 2013  | 2012  | 2011  | 2010  *No exhibit 2021, 2017 & 2016

Juried by a select guest artist each year, every submission for It’s Only Clay (IOC) is judged in four areas: function, form/aesthetic, craftsmanship, and surface design. Watermark Art Center awards cash prizes for first, second and third places. There are also additional ‘purchase awards’ for the Margaret H. Harlow Collection.

The Margaret H. Harlow Ceramics Collection is an exclusive teaching exhibit and collection occasionally displayed in Bemidji State University’s Talley Gallery. Through an agreement between BSU and Watermark, Watermark’s BSU Harlow | Kleven Gallery is dedicated to displaying items from this teaching collection in rotating themed exhibits year round.

What is a purchase award? A purchase award is when the university’s committee chooses to buy an IOC submission to include in this prestigious collection. All Harlow Purchase Award pieces have become a part of their permanent teaching and exhibit collection dedicated to functional ceramics at Bemidji State University.

About MARGARET H. HARLOW – Margaret Harlow graduated from Bemidji State Teachers’ College in 1936. After graduation, she left to pursue a career in the Women’s Army Corps, traveling throughout the world and retiring with 20 years of military service. She developed an interest in pottery while in London during the 1950s.

While living in California, Harlow was active in arts organizations. In 1973, she established the Margaret H. Harlow Ceramics Collection at Bemidji State University with the donation of  funding and a collection of original ceramic works of art. Annually, Ms. Harlow donated additional funds and original ceramic works of art for this teaching collection. She died in California on July 7, 2007.