Skelly’s Top Five Favorites

Skelly’s Top Five Favorites

Hi NCECA Friends!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like NCECA time! I’m hope everyone is getting excited for the journey to Providence! There’s a list of my top five favorite places in Providence to enjoy brunch, lunch and dinner!

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1. Waterman Grille – 4 Richmond Square, Fox Point Neighborhood, Providence

The easiest directions are to drive up Waterman St, and keep going until you hit the water. Eventually there’s a circle — take the first exit and turn left into the parking lot. Waterman Grille, is usually packed every day all day. Make sure to call for reservations at least a day in advance. I can always appreciate their cheese plate ($16 enought to share with 2-3 people), squash bisque with truffle creme, and a S’MORES dessert. All meals are made to order, and with the freshest ingredients. If you’re looking for a brunch spot on the weekend, they have an amazing lobster grilled cheese ($20). On Thursday nights, Waterman Grille has a special for $10: a burger, fries and a Foolproof beer. If you have a RISD or Brown ID Card, they offer 20% your bill. Great for large groups or small dinners. Fantastic view of the bridge at sunset.

The Red Fez

The Red Fez

2. The Red Fez – 49 Peck St, Downcity, Providence

The Red Fez is about a 10-15 walk from the Convention Center and about two blocks from the Hampton Inn off Peck St. This tiny little bar and restaurant is known for their local beers, and fun healthy pub options. Some of my favorites include Kale Caesar Salad, Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan Cheese, and Poutine Fries.  Price-wise, this place is quite affordable, and they serve large portions so just a few things to share for a group of 2-4 people is easy. They also have a vast variety of beers and great wine. It’s a bit small, so I wouldn’t go their with a party of 8 or more people unless you don’t mind feeling cramped.

Sushi Yama

3. Sushi Yama

– Westminister St. Downcity, Providence

Sushi Yami, is tiny, delicious and very fresh. It’s not your ordinary sushi bar, and has an eclectic menu from asparagus salmon sushi to ramen to mushroom stir fry. Making reservations is a good idea, and this is great for those small dinner dates with friends. They only have about twenty seats in the whole place. If you can afford a twenty minute wait, it’s worth it.

Duck & bunny

4. Duck and Bunny – Wickenden St, Fox Point, Providence

Quaint little tea house, with crepes, salads, cheese plates, sandwiches & high tea! Great for small groups.  It’s one of my favorite places to eat on the weekends, but you will need to make reservations, as it usually gets packed quickly. But if you are looking to try dinner on Tuesday-Thursday, no reservations needed. Parking can be difficult, and if there’s a wait you could try Coffee Exchange across the street. My favorite dishes are bacon-wrapped dates ($6), the Mazzy Star crepe ($10) – mushrooms, fontina cheese, truffle oil, Kale salad with pears, craisins and cider dressing ($12). Dessert-wise, you can never go wrong with a maxi chocolate peanut butter cupcake or red velvet. It’s a long walk, so grab a friend and take a short drive to the east side!

Clean Plate

Clean Plate

5.Clean Plate Water Street- Providence

Clean Plate is new to town. They have great sea food dishes, sandwiches, and salads. All of their ingredients are listed in the menu, no surprises. Dessert it worth it — they have a homemade peanut butter pie, with graham cracker crust, chocolate fudge and whipped peanut butter mousse, very rich and enough to share. It’s hidden, but there are signs on Main Street to direct you if you’re walking, and parking is located in the back. Great for large groups, and it is right on the water. My favorite dish is the clam fritters and garden salad. It’s about a 30-minute walk or 10-minute drive from the Convention Center.

Providence Food Guide: Part II Coffee and Treats

Providence Food Guide: Part II Coffee and Treats

Hi NCECA Friends!

After talking to some local Providence coffee connoisseurs and friends I was able to put together a few more fun spots for a fine cup of cheer.  Small Point Cafe, Olga’s Cup and Saucer and Coffee Exchange are the shops that will be featured in this post.

  l     Small Point Cafe – 230 Westminster Stree

Great space for a breakfast or  a light lunch or afternoon snack, a common sandwich spots of RISD students and is a good spot for small groups. About a ten minute walk from the convention center.

  • Monday: 7am – 6:30pm
  • Tuesday-Friday: 7am — 9pm
  • Saturday: 7:30am – 9pm
  • Sunday: 8am – 9pm

photo 1 Olga’s Cup & Saucer – 103 Point Street

Easily the best breakfast spot, great coffee, pastries and a short drive from the convention center. They have a call ahead service if you are hoping to run in and out in a small amount of time. Lunch time they are packed to the core, so definitely order ahead.

Breakfast: 7am — 11pm  Monday – Friday
Lunch:     11am — 3pm   Monday – Friday,
Ltd Lunch  11am — 2pm Saturday + Sunday
Brunch:    9am — 2pm  Saturday + Sunday

Coffee Exchange

Coffee Exchange – 207 Wickeden Street

It’s quite a long walk from the Convention Center, so find a friend to take a nice drive with and get yourself some cold brewed ice coffee. They’re known for their fair trade coffee. For all those coffee connoisseurs, it’s one of the best coffee shops I’ve been too. They have a variety of coffee beans, drinks and a great mocha.


Sunday-Saturday 6:30am — 10pm


For Your Convenience

For Your Convenience

Hi There!

Here’s a list of local shops that may help you with any necessary items, pharmacies, grocery stores, liquor stores…etc.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.34.39 PMConvenience Stores

  • Atwells Minimart

    • 196 Atwells Avenue
    • (401) 457-9994
  • 7-ELEVEN

  • Super Star Mini Market

    • 163 Broadway

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Liquor StoresScreen Shot 2015-02-23 at 6.04.06 PM

  • High Spirits

    • (401) 274-4790
    • 559 N Main St
  • Eno Fine Wines and Spirits

    • 225 Westminster Street
    • 401-521-2000
    •  (my personal favorite – knowledgable staff)
  • Darwin Liquors

    • 406 Benefit St
    • 401-751-9650
  •  Campus Fine Wines

    • (401) 861-9006
    • 127 Brook St
  • Federal Hill Wine & Spirit

    • 401-861-1400
    • 120 Atwells Ave


Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.08.27 PMGrocery Stores

  •  Whole Foods Market

    • 601 North Main St & 261 Waterman St
  •  Super Stop & Shop

    • 333 W River St.
  •  Eastside Market Place

    • 165 Pitman St.
    • Wednesdays are student discount days
Cindy’s favorite restaurants in Providence

Cindy’s favorite restaurants in Providence

So usually I leave the food and other area points of interest to the locals, but after visiting Providence twice, I have found a few favorites of my own.  I really had to think twice about whether to share them though, because I worry that they might become so popular that I can’t get a table!  So, as you read this, keep in mind that if I show up at one of hese places and it’s packed, I might just decide to join your table….forewarned is forearmed?  hahaha.

UnknownSo in general Federal Hill is a great place to go to find a variety of restaurants, and it’s a short walk from the convention center.  There was a greek-looking restaurant up there (sorry, I don’t remember the name) that I really wanted to try and never got a chance to get to.  It will definitely be on my conference to-do (or rather, to-eat) list.

Also on my list will be a third trip to Angelos…and maybe a forth.  DSCF2409[1]Angelo’s is one of several Italian restaurants up on Federal Hill and, dare I say, the BEST of the bunch!  So many tempting things on the menu, but both times, I had the (drumroll, please), CINDY SPECIAL  (yes, that’s a real thing….I think I even instagrammed it…)  It’s described on their menu as  “A golden brown chicken cutlet covered with spicy capicola on a bed of penne pasta covered with melted mozzarella and marinara sauce” It’s described by me as YUM.  I mean how can you beat a bed of fresh warm carbs covered by a pan-fried crispy piece of chicken covered in salami and smothered in cheese?  Of course I got it with a salad to make it healthy….oh, but it gets better.  Let me just tell you about the chocolate torte that they have…..wait, no!  Don’t let me tell you about it…hmm, I better call to warn them to triple their usual stock of that thing.  It is easily the most delicious chocolate concoction I have ever put in my mouth, so save room…or eat your dessert first….I won’t tell.

providence-ri-oyster-bar-540x457Also up on Federal Hill, just about a block past Angelo’s is the Providence Oyster Bar.  After our last board meeting I had some time to kill before my flight, so Dori (Conference planner) and I asked the hotel concierge for suggestions and that led us to this place.  Admittedly, I’m not a fan of oysters, but I do like other creatures from the sea and I LOVE chowder.  This place is pretty hard to beat (Brian Kohl, are you reading this?  Hint hint….we’re going here..oh, and they have shrimp puttanesca for you)  Between a big bowl of the chowder and an order of Pt. Judith Calamari (off the appetizer menu – calamari and hot peppers….YUM!) I was well-satiated for the plane ride home.  I think I napped on the plane and dreamt about that chowder.  If you go, be sure to ask them about Rhode Island Clam Chowder, which is different than New England Clam Chowder.  I didn’t know that before.  🙂

ri_pvd_empire_as220_1_6AS 220 is also a short walk from the convention center, but in the opposite direction.  I was introduced to this gem by Jay Lacouture at our first board meeting in Providence.  I have a bit of a rule of thumb that I’ve learned in my almost 5 years on the board – go where the locals go, so when Jay took off walking, I followed him.  It was just the two of us, which was also fun because Jay is such a great storyteller and so knowledgable about the history of NCECA.  AS220 offers unique meals from locally sourced ingredients in counter-service style.  It really is delicious, and it varies with the season, but you’re sure to find something you like on their menu, and chances are, it’s one of the healthier options near the convention center.  An added bonus is that AS220 is also an arts complex of galleries & performance spaces, and is hosting several shows in conjunction with NCECA.

hphwghcIf you’re on your way to AS-220, you might get tempted to take a detour by the delicious aromas coming from nearby Trinity Brewhouse.  It’s your basic bar and grill, but it’s really tasty and a fun environment.  If you’re into beer, they do brew their own, right there on the premises.  They also received a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Fest for their Imperial IPA.  And even this Kansas girl gives their burgers a thumbs up.  The beer battered cod is also quite tasty.

providence-coal-firedProvidence Coal Fired Pizza is also on Empire Street, just a little further past AS-220 you’ll find Providence Coal Fired Pizza.  Now, I didn’t actually eat at this place, but I wish that I had.  Some of the other board members went there for lunch one day and they came back raving about it, so it’s definitely on my list.


IMG_3155If you find yourself up late into the evening and possibly needing a late night snack, then you need to wander up to Providence City Hall to enjoy the diner food at Haven Brother’s Food Truck.  This was another Jay-gem from our first board meeting in Providence, and while I didn’t personally partake in the provisions, check out this video of someone who did (there’s even a bit of bonus footage of Federal Hill at the beginning).  In any case, the food truck will fill you up from 4pm until 5am.  It’s like they were made for NCECA.

Hope you enjoyed reading this list.  Now I’m going to go find some lunch!



Extend your NCECA Experience

Extend your NCECA Experience

For many NCECA attendees, the workshops that happen before and after the conference are one of the most memorable parts of the experience.  Pre & Post-Conference events are not planned by NCECA, but rather extension offerings from the local artist community.  There are some really great experiences to be had this year in the Providence area, so consider coming early or staying late.  Many of these opportunities are still open!  Read on to learn more…

image1The UMASS Dartmouth Ceramics Club is hosting a NCECA Pre-Conference event that will include two days of demos and lectures by two renowned ceramic artists, Jason Briggs and Lauren Gallaspy. Our Pre-Conference will take place Monday, March 23rd to Tuesday, March 24th at the Star Store in downtown New Bedford. Workshops will be taking place 9 am- 5pm each day on the fourth floor of the Star Store building. Both artists will present a lecture on their work Monday, March 23rd at 6 pm with a club sponsored potluck. One flat rate registration fee grants you access to the workshop demos as well as an evening lecture with Jason Briggs and Lauren Gallaspy.

Location: UMASS Dartmouth Ceramics Department, New Bedford, MA 02740

Cost: $45 All payments are non-refundable  Click here to register


Making Handbuilt Aka (red) Raku Chawan

With John Baymore

A Pre-NCECA Workshop at The Potters Shop & School
Saturday-Sunday-Monday, March 21-23
Fee: $350 (includes materials and  Saturday night dinner reception)

Formal Japanese Tea Ceremony, known as Chanoyu, has had a profound impact on both Japanese and world ceramics since the feudal era in Japan. The making of formal Chawan (teabowls) is considered the pinnacle of the art of the potter in Japan. The most revered Chawan for use in Chanoyu are those made by the Japanese Raku family in Kyoto.

This 3 day pre-NCECA hands-on workshop will share two specific hand forming techniques typically used for the making of aka (red) Raku Chawan as well as demonstrate this firing process that differs from typical American Raku.  A discussion of actual Chanoyu process will be included on the second day, and each participant will have the opportunity to act as both host and guest in a Chakai (an informal tea ceremony) we’ll hold for each other.  On the last day, we’ll cap our day’s firing efforts by again making matcha (whisked tea ceremony tea) in the aka Raku bowls we’ve just fired. On day one John will demonstrate the forming of the chawan. Following his demonstration the group will work on their individual chawan under John’s tuteledge. Day two is a chance for each participant to individually go thru a taemae (tea procedure) as others observe and learn. Day three will be the two Japanese-style firings of the bowls that each person has made.

*This event is currently full, waitlist available*

You can also visit the Potter’s School AFTER the conference for

Screen Printing on Textured Thrown and Altered Forms 
Karen Mahoney will demonstrate her personalized techniques developed to create rope impressed and screen printed thrown and altered functional ware. Beginning at the wheel, Karen will demonstrate and discuss altering her thrown forms, and refining them through the drying process. Over the course of the day Karen will share the tools, materials, and techniques she uses to keep crisp divisions between imagery, texture, and smooth clay. Participants will leave understanding how to make and successfully use an original screen print image on various clay forms, and how to incorporate this type of surface decoration with texture. The Potters Shop and School, 31 Thorpe Road, Needham, MA 02494. Contact Steven Branfman, 781-449-7687, Cost $75


As part of the NCECA pre-conference events, Chris Gustin has invited eleven ceramic artists from the US and India, as well as the core group of artists that are the ‘crew’ for his kiln, to send work and come to my studio for the month of March to participate in an anagama wood firing at his studio from March 6 thru March 17th, 2015.

ChrisGustin_headshotIn the spirit of the conference theme ‘Lively Experiments’, I was interested in putting together a group of artists whose work I respected and admired, and bring them to Massachusetts to fire their work in my kiln. All of the invited artists have done a significant amount of wood firing, and what better way to celebrate the conference theme than to work together to fire the kiln. My kiln has three chambers, including a 100 cubic foot soda chamber. The three chambers combined will fire approximately 800-1000 pieces.

The firing of the kiln is an invitational event. However, those people interested in coming to see the firing are welcome.

The unloading on Tuesday, March 24th will be an open event for pre-conference visitors, who are welcome to participate in the unstacking of the kiln.


Of Earth, Sea & Fire: A Symposium of Makers
Eight ceramic artists making works in response to the collection at the New Bedford Whaling Museum come together with eight wood-fire artists participating in the March 2015 Anagama firing at Gustin Studio for a weekend of lively discussion, demostration & lecture. Artists Participating: Chris Archer, Mary Barringer, Cynthia Constantino, Molly Hatch, Sergei Isupov, Kathy King, Jim Lawton, Seth Rainville, Arnie Zimmerman, Randy Johnston, Jan McKeachie, Doug Casebeer, John Balistreri, Matt Long, Dan Anderson, Chris Gustin.

Schedule and Registration

Day 1. Saturday March 21

8:00 – 9:00 am
coffee & pastries – Museum Galleries open for participants

9:00 – 10:00 am
Opening remarks  

Dr. Christina Connett, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, NBWM

Seth Rainville: Introduction to NCECA shows/events and artists from the Gustin Pre-conference Anagama firing

Jim Lawton: Making of an exhibition – artists prepare for Of Earth & Sea

10:15 – 11:45 am
Demo with Matt Long and Molly Hatch

11:45 am – 12:45 pm

1:00 – 2:00 pm
Gallery Walk with Jim Lawton and Artists in the NBWM Exhibition Of Earth & Sea

2:15 – 3:45 pm
Demo with Cynthia Consentino and Jan McKeachie Johnston

4:00 – 5:00 pm
Lecture: Sergei Isupov

5:00 – 6:00 pm


Day 2. Sunday March 22

8:00 – 9:00 am
coffee & pastries – Museum Galleries open for participants

9: 00 – 10:15 am
Lecture: Surface and Beyond with Kathy King, Dan Anderson and Seth Rainville

10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Demo with Randy Johnston and Doug Casebeer

12:00 – 1:00 pm

1:00 – 2:30 pm
Demo concludes with Cynthia Consentino and Jan McKeachie Johnston

2:45 – 4:15 pm
Demo concludes with Matt Long and Molly Hatch

4:30 – 5:30 pm
Lecture: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow with Eleanor Wilson and John Balistreri

5:30 – 6:00 pm
Closing Remarks

To register, visit The New Bedford Whaling Museum Website. Cost $75 general public for weekend; $65 New Bedford Whaling Museum members.


Scholarships Available to Attend Conference!

Scholarships Available to Attend Conference!

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) will award scholarships to six Rhode Island artists to attend the 49th Annual NCECA Conference in Providence, March 25-38. The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) is a nonprofit organization that fosters global education and appreciation for the ceramic arts. NCECA’s annual conference has earned a reputation worldwide as a premiere event for ceramic art, drawing thousands each year. This year’s conference in Providence is titled Lively Experiments, joining ceramic art’s historic engagement with empirical research and discovery to today’s evolving creative commons. Conference programming based at the Rhode Island Convention Center will investigate, celebrate and promote discourse in Lively Experimentation through aesthetics, history, criticism, pedagogy, professional practice, technology and sustainability. Special strands dedicated to K-12 education and student-centered programming will also be incorporated along with opportunities to learn about ceramics study, residency opportunities, services and products in a large Resource Hall.
In order to apply, please create a profile in RISCA’s online grants system here:
Then click Apply on the left tab.

Deadline February 20th, 2015.
If you have questions, please contact Cristina at