Google defines the term “Renaissance Man” as an intelligent, knowledgeable, artistic person……....a person with many, many talents. Enter McKinney Artist Wayne Batchelder – the consummate Renaissance Man. (www.waynebatchelder.com).
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Batchelder finished high school there and then embarked for Dallas, Texas to pursue an engineering career at Southern Methodist University. All that brilliance and talent brewing, Batchelder then changed majors and went to Texas Wesleyan University, graduating with a degree in Humanities-Religion. A Masters degree in Divinity and Doctorate studies in “learning how to learn” followed.
An academic foundation paved the way for Wayne’s professional careers in counseling, education ministry, training, print-to-digital transfer, and website development. It was during his training/website development years that he was invited by the Art Institute of Dallas to develop a curriculum in web design. That led to 18 years as a college professor, creating courses and serving as an on-line teacher.
One can not work at the Art Institute of Dallas without being inspired by the holistic nature of the setting…….drawing, painting, mixed media, pottery, and more. Intrigued by pottery, Batchelder began taking classes from established pottery artists at community art centers. He learned quickly that pottery was his zen. The clay and its movement were mesmerizing and channeled his energy and focus. That was three decades ago and it is still evolving.
“Pottery comes alive when I integrate my inner search with my outer practice,” says Batchelder. “I stopped trying to force the form. I let the clay shape itself.”
Guided by the ancient aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi which honors simplicity and imperfection, Batchelder’s art merges cracks and crevices (that come with age and decay) with fallen tree limbs he finds during walks in the woods. “Giving new life to the discarded wood honors its service to the planet and reminds us to stay connected to nature,” notes Wayne. A sentiment similarly aligned to the beliefs of Dallasite, Trammel Crow, Founder of Earth Day and EarthX, who shares regularly that recycling creates a more environmentally sustainable planet. (For more information about EarthX and the current Eco-Art Competition open to students, visit: https://earthx.org/education/art-competition/ ) http://www.planetexperts.com/notes-fro-cop21-trammel-crow-is-turning-texas-green
In the last few years, Wayne has basked in the value of the unexpected. He has experimented with Raku pottery (red-hot pottery placed in an air tight container with combustible materials). He has experimented with “reactive” glazes like ash and shinos. He has experimented with wood fire processes.
His pottery is now beautiful, in line with nature, and purely functional. If his pottery could talk, it would say, “Just embrace the connection it seeks to make with your own soul”.
Purchase pottery online at: www.waynebatchelder.com or come and visit him at the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts in McKinney.