Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director

Gresham, Wisconsin studio potter Simon Levin has asked fifty of his favorite clay workers* to contribute a plate to a fundraising initiative in support of NCECA’s 50th anniversary, which falls in 2016. Over the past two months some of your favorite potters across the country opened an emailed letter that asked them to imagine Simon playing the role of Uncle Sam with his clay covered finger pointing their way proclaiming, “I want you.” In a reprise of the wonderful online cup exhibition that Pete Pinnell helped organize for NCECA in 2011, these extraordinary plates will be available for purchase through NCECA’s online store shortly after the upcoming conference in Milwaukee.   On his decision to focus this online exhibition on the plate, Simon writes,

“Throughout the day I notice myself toting around a mug, alternating coffee and water. This vessel at hand is often an extension of my arm and remains consistent all day, often for several days in a row… But the small plates we own, swap in and out during the day in an ever-changing cycle.  My friend Lloyd once commented that if you were to create a stop motion film of days of his cupboard, it would be the stack of plates that telescoped up and down, in use, washed and restacked, while the other pots would dance in and out intermittently.   For me this sized plate is the essence of daily use and variety, a functional image or textural landscape that adds richness to the break that meals afford us.”

All proceeds from this exhibition will go to the NCECA 50th Year Fund! Any money earned from sale of plates will be temporarily restricted to support special programs and projects related to NCECA’s 50th Anniversary. Projects currently under development include an exhibition with historical focus, a publication about ceramic education, a series of short videos about inspiring ceramic art and educators, and a nationwide community engagement project involving ceramic objects. Should any of these projects not be realized due to lack of adequate funding, money will be diverted and applied to student fellowships. “ All exhibition and sales of work will take place in the inter-webs. NCECA will handle all transactions and add a shipping fee onto each purchase. Once a work is purchased, NCECA will provide each potter with the purchaser’s contact information, and the work will be shipped to its new home directly from the studio in which it was created. Over the next couple of weeks NCECA and Simon will begin to share images of the plates and information about the makers via social media and Here is your chance to show appreciation for great pots and NCECA in one gesture of generosity. Once the sale goes live, we expect these beauties won’t last, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, here’s a teaser for you:

*Participating potters include… Jennifer Allen, Linda Arbuckle, Posey Bacopoulos, Karl Borgeson, Andy Brayman, Kyle Carpenter, Ben Carter, Bede Clarke, Sunshine Cobb, Guillermo Cuellar, Bernadette Curran, Carolanne Currier, Chandra DeBuse, Josh DeWeese, Adam Field, Erin Furimsky, Mike Gesiakowski, Kenyon Hansen, Sam Harvey, Molly Hatch, Todd Hayes, Fred Herbst, Ayumi Horie, Tom Jaszczak, Brian Jones, Lauren Karle, Matt Kelleher, Gail Kendall, Kristen Kieffer, Matthew Krousey, Steve Lee, Kirk Lyttle, David MacDonald, Alex Matisse, Lorna Meaden, Alleghany Meadows, Shawn O’Connor, Pete Pinnell, Lindsay Rogers, Steve Rolf, Mark Shapiro, Kevin Snipes, Bill Strickland, Shoko Teruyama, James Tingey, Elizabeth Wiley and Tara Wilson.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Re plate sale. I wish there was a way to really be able to tell what you are purchasing. I bought 2 plates online last fall to add to my collection of handmade plates – most of which I bought while at the Bray last summer. I was extremely disappointed – the dinner plate is so heavy I dont want to use it and the small side plate is a bowl – not flat at all. If I had been present to pick up, touch and look I would not have purchased these two plates. How is it possible to avoid this sort of thing? Does anyone else have a similar experience? There are lots of plates I love on this youtube but I am hesitant to buy. Thanks for listening.

    • Thanks for sharing your plate story. It’s hard to know whether the tactile pleasures of ceramics will ever be something we will ever be able to communicate authentically in the digital Universe. Nonetheless, digital display and purchase of ceramic art and just about everything else is part of the way we live today. The digital realm also has the advantage of making this exhibition of plates accessible to those of us who would not otherwise be able to travel to the location of a physical exhibition. It also has a much softer carbon foot print. Simon has helped us assemble an extraordinary group of makers who care not just about how their work looks but also how it feels and functions. We think that many others will agree to trust in this and be willing to support the important cause that each plate sale will help fulfill.

  2. […] Wisconsin artist Simon Levin curated an exhibition of plates to benefit the 50th year of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. My “Small Plate” has been sold out of the exhibition but there are still a number of outstanding pieces available. See the NCECA blog entry here. […]