The NCECA Podcast – New Episodes!

The NCECA Podcast – New Episodes!

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) The NCECA podcast has returned!  With big thanks to Ben Carter for all of his expertise and assistance, NCECA has been releasing a variety of episodes for our members to enjoy!  This season premiered in September with an episode recorded live at the 2014 Conference in Milwaukee, Igniting the Workshop Circuit.  Since then, we have made available Episode 18, Factory as Studio a panel moderated by Susan Barnett from the 2013 Conference and Episode 19, Ceramics and the Archive, co-moderated by Jenni Sorkin & Cindi Strauss, also from 2013.  Most recently, we released Episode 20, the popular Closing Lecture from the 2012 Seattle Conference, in’t(y)oo-it!  You can subscribe to it in iTunes and get new content delivered directly to you.   We have lots more exciting episodes coming up, so tune in!

Gearing up for NCECA 2015…

Gearing up for NCECA 2015…

…with a mobile education and outreach gallery for beautiful handmade pottery–a collaboration between over 100 clay artists

​Sunshine Cobb, a POW! participating artist

​Sunshine Cobb, a POW! participating artist

In Boston, we’ve recently launched a project to spread our passion for ceramics and design. We’re converting a 17ft bread truck into a mobile ceramics gallery, called POW! (Pots On Wheels) in order to bring excellent pottery to those who may not have had the opportunity to touch clay before. Our gallery will display a diverse range of work from over 100 artists, including Molly Hatch and Ayumie Horie. We’ll drive around New England delivering workshops and hands-on education to communities and schools. We believe that fine craft makes people happy. We want to share the joys of making with a larger audience. We’ll encourage new audiences, both young and old, to see, touch and experience well-made functional ceramics, made by a wide-range of contemporary artists.


​Mark Arnold, a POW! participating artist

Our first official wheeled appearance will be at NCECA in Providence, where we’ll share our collaborative Cup Project with NCECA participants. We’re in the midst of raising funds on Kick Starter to purchase our gallery-truck. There are some great rewards for people who pledge funds, including t-shirts, totally gorgeous original ceramics (shipped anywhere in the world), and even a visit to your location by Mark Shapiro and Sam Taylor, who will make pots and tell stories in front of your very eyes!

​POW! collaborative Cup Project in action--Mark Shapiro demos at the "Cup-latch"

​POW! collaborative Cup Project in action–Mark Shapiro demos at the “Cup-latch”


Everything you wanted to know about Student Programming but were afraid to ask…

Everything you wanted to know about Student Programming but were afraid to ask…

Tampa, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, and now Providence…

Hard to believe that this year will be Student Perspective’s 5th birthday. Wow! Time sure does fly by.

I still remember my first board meeting as the new student director for NCECA, and the idea of a student programming thread being put forth as we sat around the conference table down in Tampa, back in May of 2010. I was still absorbing the fact that I was a board member, and learning the ropes of how a board meeting worked, and what my role as student director would be.

It was pretty exciting to realize that one of the things I would get to do would be to create Student Perspectives (SP). The premise was to create a line of programming at the annual conference that was created by, and sometimes for students. Such a simple concept. The only criterion for applying is that you must a student of some sort – undergrad, grad, post-bacc. One year a high school student even applied.

I am still in awe of what an amazing opportunity this is for students – to present in front of a national audience. To be treated as a professional, to meet deadlines, to prepare a researched, polished and rehearsed presentation. What a great experience, and a way to share information with people from all over the country, even the world. A chance to meet those with similar views/tastes/ideas, and of course, it never hurts to add that line to your CV….

For NCECA conference attendees, this is a great way to meet the next generation of movers, shakers and thinkers. When I look back through my files to see who presented during the first couple years, I see names of those who are steadily gaining prominence in our field, who continue to be active members of the ceramics community, who are developing new ideas, new work, new approaches to our field. I am proud to call many of them friends, friendships developed through working together to make this new line of programming a success.

What has impressed me the most as I have watched SP grow and evolve is the professionalism of the students who present, the broad range of topics that have been addressed and the diversity of the audience. In Tampa, the first time we offered student programming, we had standing room only crowds at the majority of the presentations, and had to increase the size of the room the following year. It wasn’t just other students or their professors coming to hear the presentations. People of all sorts were interested in the topics being presented, a win-win situation for both the student presenters and the audience.

As for topics, the range of subjects is huge – from something you are experimenting with (clay bodies), or historic research that informs your work and would be of interest to others (Japanese haniwa) to topics that are of specific interest TO students, such as thinking about graduate school, or residencies, or a discussion of what comes after that degree everyone works so hard for. Why not a discussion of why grad school isn’t the only solution to continuing your education? Presentations have covered curatorial issues, discussions of concept, social activism, the impermanence of clay…. to rare earth oxides.

The only topic that is taboo is a presentation of your work. This is not an opportunity to introduce yourself as an artist to the NCECA membership. (For that, you need to be chosen as an emerging artist, and I will be there in the audience, listening and cheering you on.)

So students, what are you waiting for? Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts, and then get to work on applying to Student Perspectives. Professors, mentors, friends, encourage the students you know to take advantage of this opportunity.

Deadline for proposals is December 8th.

NCECA 2014 Conference Content: “Creativity Roundtable”

NCECA 2014 Conference Content: “Creativity Roundtable”

We are excited to make available the video footage from NCECA’s inaugural Roundtable Discussion.  At our 48th annual meeting in Milwaukee, with generous support from the Chipstone Foundation, NCECA was able to bring together a “dream team” panel of creative thinkers in and adjacent to our field.  The title of this roundtable, “Handle as Bridge: Creativity, Learning & Purpose” was inspired by a 1911 essay by philosopher and critic Georg Simmel that describes the handle of a vessel as a mediation with the world, bridging connection between the purely aesthetic pursuit of form and social engagement that arises through utility.

Enjoy this panel, moderated by Chris Staley with Brooke Anderson, Theaster Gates, Erica Halverson and Bill Strickland, each of whose endeavors involve new forms of collaboration and ways of thinking about artist practice and its outcomes.  We hope it inspires your own creative ideas!

Clay Stories

Clay Stories

Dear Clay Friends:

If you had five minutes to tell a ClayStory, what story would you tell? We want to hear you tell it live, on stage, at NCECA 2015!

For those of you who are planning on attending NCECA 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island, I have some exciting news to share. I’d like to ask you to join Steven Branfman and myself along with some outstanding potters for an evening of storytelling around the theme of clay. The 90 minute event is scheduled for 8 pm on Thursday, March 26, at the Omni Hotel, and takes place just before the annual Potter’s Jam. A dozen or so potters will be given a maximum of 5 minutes to tell a clay story.

We have created a website, – please check out the site and consider adding your submission so that you get a chance to be one of 12 potters who will tell a story. The topic can be anything, so long as it is related to clay. Your age, gender, amount of experience with clay, etc. are irrelevant. It’s all about the story! We would like to have as diverse a panel of storytellers as we can possible assemble.

You can also augment your story with photographs that will be displayed on the big screen while you tell your story. Your story may be funny, it may be sad, it may be poignant, it may involve the fire department, etc.etc. Seems like any time two or more potters get together, interesting things can and do happen!

I know that we are all super busy right now and don’t have much time for anything else. But, no worry – the deadline for entries is Feb. 1st, 2015. We will announce the full lineup on Feb. 15.

Best wishes for a safe and rewarding journey through the busy weeks leading up to the holidays!

Thanks, Owen

PS If you don’t mind, please pass along the website link along to anyone you know who may be interested.