Emerging Artist Program – Deadline October 3, 2018

Emerging Artist Program – Deadline October 3, 2018

NCECA believes that those creating work offering new/exciting/thoughtful perspectives on the ceramic medium, expanding upon genres of creative production and inquiry are qualified as candidates for its Emerging Artist awards. An Emerging Artist may be at the early stages of receiving recognition for his/her work but is currently underrepresented through exhibitions or publications that might otherwise bring the work to wide attention. The intent of the award is to recognize, cultivate and amplify vital, new voices of creative endeavor in ceramics. The award enables these artists to reach broader national and international audiences and impact discourse in the field.

NCECA’s Emerging Artists program recognizes exceptional early career artists highlighting them to an international audience during NCECA’s Annual Conference and promoting them year round through the NCECA blog.  blog.nceca.net. The awards include opportunities for increased exposure through exhibition and special events.

Matt Kelleher Emerging Artist from ten years ago, 2008 reflects…

“Looking back to the opportunity of NCECA Emerging Artist in 2008, I think of the scale.  Presenting my work and ideas on such a large platform. It came at a perfect time for me as I was wrapping up a 3 year residency at Penland School of Crafts and heading out to set up my own studio and business. The event did not change my career over night, but was more of a recognition of how I had grown up to that point.”


The NCECA Emerging Artist program deadline is coming up!

October 3rd, 2018. Consider applying at 2019 NCECA Emerging Artist



2018 Emerging Artist Wade MacDonald

2018 Emerging Artist Wade MacDonald

Wade MacDonald –  Becoming an Artist and Advice for the Future

“While preparing for high school graduation, I had a brief moment to sit at a kickwheel in the art classroom and attempt to throw a pot. This was my introduction to clay. Obviously, my pot was not successful and I thought I would probably never engage in that particular activity ever again. My first art mentor was Cary Vanderveen at Mattawan High School. Cary makes realistic drawings and paintings and his curriculum revolved around learning the necessary techniques to render any subject exactly. Ed Harkness at Western Michigan University ignited my passion for clay. One day, Ed spoke very eloquently about the clay medium while throwing a delicate porcelain jar. In that moment, I felt as though ceramics was the place for me. As a graduate student at Michigan State University, Paul Kotula, Blake Williams, Jae Won Lee, and Theresa Winge were stalwart guides and tremendous mentors.

For the first part of my journey in ceramics, I found myself drawn to the work of Chris Gustin, Chris Staley, Philip Cornelius, John Middlemiss, and Byron Temple. Later, Ken Price, Andy Brayman, Ron Nagle, Del Harrow, Matteo Thun, Arlene Shechet, Paul Sacaridiz, Peter Shire, Isamu Noguchi, were a few of the individuals who inspired.

I believe the need to make is a feeling that all artists are born with. I realized the great satisfaction of creating when I was in Montessori at the age of six. I’ve always owned a drawing pad and a journal and use them. The act of making is ingrained in my daily routine. I often hear colleagues or students say, “the most important thing you can do in your studio practice is to just make!” Having done this for many years, I’ve found that this isn’t entirely true. I have the ability to make art all day without understanding the greater reasons or messages behind the work. Artists must be thinkers not just makers. I look forward to the day that I can attend a residency and read and write and make very little.

Besides contemporary ceramics, my work is informed by architecture, interior design, furniture design, and fine woodworking; I could see myself exploring all of these areas in greater depth in the coming years. In my ceramics practice, I’ve been able to dabble in these areas while keeping focus on the ceramic object.

The best advice I received in my life, as it pertains to art, is not to be timid. In my first undergraduate drawing class, I felt trepidation to make a mark on a piece of paper. What if it was the wrong mark? I’ve worked hard to create an environment where my students are allowed to experience failure without the stigma. The classroom should be the safest place to conduct research, to experiment. If you think you are going to fail, fail big.

For the pre-emerging artists, I encourage you to work everyday. If possible, be in your studio everyday. Read voraciously; don’t be in a hurry to experience success. Focus on making great work; success will follow.”








2018 Emerging Artist Andrew Stansbury

2018 Emerging Artist Andrew Stansbury

Andrew Stansbury: An Ode to Missed Connections

“We didn’t have long, and you let someone skip in front of you. When it was our time, you choked back tears. “Oh honey, it’s okay,” I said, “we don’t gotta talk,” and I tried to give you the biggest, warmest hug I could, letting all the things left unsaid transfer.

At the end of the embrace, I think you said something like “I didn’t know we had such similar stories…” before we got cut off for the next conference talk. I tried finding you afterwards with no luck.

Is this you? Write to me, please.

I spent the NCECA Saturday hugging a lot of people. After the emerging artist talk, I had a line of people wanting hugs. I was a hug-machine. This felt a lot better than the past few days in the conference hall standing next to my work, where I watched people point, cover their mouths, and laugh at my body and art on the wall. Now, maybe they didn’t know it was me. I suppose, the problem of always wearing a mask is that I am never recognized next to my work, even though I am on full, bare display in it. Instead of engaging me in conversation, I was witness to the wrenching of their faces and their dismissive shaking of their heads as they walked away, never to look back.

By Friday morning, being witness to this constant stream of rejection took its toll. I had a mental breakdown from it all — from the drive from rural Minnesota to Pittsburgh, from the lingering recovery from the flu and a double-ear infection, from watching people’s dismissive reactions, from utter exhaustion, from just feeling so unwelcomed.

It’s not that I didn’t expect my work to trigger some realm of emotion, I just didn’t expect to be so negative, I didn’t expect to be ignored, I didn’t expect to hurt as much as it did. And I have to apologize to the other Westin breakfast eaters that Friday morning because I had a good, audible cry over my uneaten cold, sad eggs and bacon. I held hands with my first ceramic instructor, Debra Chronister, and then after that purge I went to my room and changed my presentation and talk.

That’s how my talk manifested. I confronted my nervousness and I let intuition and improvisation take over. My mentors taught me to embrace that feeling — nervousness — because it means you’re on the right track. Nervousness is just a false fear of failure that’s stopping you from taking that risk. My mentors, Debra Chronister, Ovidio Giberga, Libby Rowe, and Jim Lawton, have all given me the space to follow my gut and to be present, to allow myself to be open, to be vulnerable to the utmost degree. But perhaps the hardest lesson I have had to learn is to let myself love. As my dear Gery “Rocketskull” Henderson repeatedly told me, “You deserve to love.”

Loving myself has always been a challenge and continues to be to this day. In some ways, my studio practice is my self-care as well as my self-preservation. If I hadn’t found clay, I wouldn’t be alive, a sentiment I hear too often from queer artists. Clay, for me, is an act of performance and is only the starting point. Back in the day, Ken Little gave me the best criticism of my undergraduate work: “What else can you do?” A lot, I think.

In the end, my work is about love, about acceptance, about recovery. I was once told in a graduate school critique, in response to the trauma I have experienced, that I had won the lottery of life, that I have really lived. But there is nothing good of living through trauma; it is not a fucking lottery. If anything, the “tortured” artist trope needs to die by stone-throwing, and we should turn our attention to ending the violences that allow this trauma to continue to occur. Trauma isn’t a selling-point. It is what we seek to end.

I have to thank the people who have stood in my way and told me not to make my work. It’s the fuel to my fire. And I use it to burn down their hopes and dreams of what my work should be and what work in ceramics should be. Take some fuel, my dear reader, and burn everything down and start anew. Tear it all down. Out of politeness or out of fear, we leave many words unsaid, so…please…set ablaze to all the obstacles stopping you and let your story be told. Make your presence heard, and be as visibly free as you want to or can be.

Below, watch the complete video of Andrew’s talk at NCECA 2018.

We don’t have to talk. We have to create.”

       Ben Aqua, CREATING > COMPLAINING shirt, 2017





Emerging Artist Adam Chau

Emerging Artist Adam Chau

Adam Chau – Essay about influence and idea development

 “My clay journey started early – my family opperated a bakery when I was growing up and I learned commercial-level baking at a very young age; it was shortly after that I discovered that ceramics was parallel with baking and was an easy transition into a creative artform. Because of this introduction to seriality from a commercial standpoint I was most comfortable (and interested) in making multiples. My influences reflected as such in song-dynasty production, Ko-Sometsuke wares, tile factories, and global designers. Design plays a huge role in how I opperate and I am always inspired by it because it gathers craft, global dialog, and visual communication all together – I try to be on top of contemporary design trends and movements. On a more fined-tuned level I am looking at artists that use text in their work as I am incorporating language and communication in with my ceramics; artists like Sophie Calle and Tracy Emin are influences to me.

Jim Termeer was my thesis mentor in graduate school and instilled in me a studio practice that is always growing – objects that I make are adjustments from the previous batch. This way of iterative making keeps me moving and is a pursuit of a communicating a clear vision. Blake Williams has also been a mentor of mine; since she’s seen my work grow she has a clear understanding of the messages I try to convey and always brings me back to the foundation of my practice.

Since my background is in design I iterate a concept before I execute something – the large part of my time is actually mapping out an idea and concept without touching clay. It took months to arrive at the final version of my iPhone series because every single detail had a reason for the way it looked and how you interacted with it – it was all preplanned. I am always thinking of how other people will interpret my work; because of this I am constantly looking at other artists and designers to see how their message is coming across. I know a work is done when it conveys a message conceptually and aesthetically. I hope that design is taken into ceramic curriculums – it is only growing stronger in other commercial industries. I’d love to see emerging artists in the future adopt both technology and design issues to be a part of the global conversation.”















2018 NCECA Emerging Artists

2018 NCECA Emerging Artists

Saturday morning, at the end of the conference, I always look forward to the emerging artist presentation. I find these talks to be tremendously energizing, full of good will and optimistic for the future. I relish in how the presenters are often a little nervous and occasionally naive, reminding me that we all start somewhere.

This year Ayumi Horie, Arthur Gonzalez and I reviewed all the submissions for emerging artist and I was so impressed by the passion, ideas and dedication of the artist. What a variety of process, concepts and materials – it’s very exciting. I love seeing this new work and witnessing soon to be leaders in our field. I find the hope for the future of our field inspiring. Sample work of the emerging artist will be on display at the expo center – and these presenters will be with their work in shifts over the conference, to meet and answer questions. I never miss the emerging artist Saturday presentations, and I hope to see you there.

NCECA 2018 Emerging Artist

Juror Statement

This year’s group of Emerging Artists embody the rich multiplicity of work that is redefining who and what we are as a ceramics field. Collectively they are expansive in their thinking and brave in the narratives that they are bringing to light. In this charged political climate, where old assumptions and power structures are crumbling, we find in these young artists the guts and grit to openly express their experiences, to mix clay and non-clay with fluency, and to challenge existing norms.

As the dust settles online and we mature as artists on social media, there is incredible cross-pollination taking place globally. Artists are able to both move the conversation forward at an unprecedented clip and distill for themselves the authenticity of their work relative to others. This pluralism of ideas is solidly evident in this particular group of artists, yet we would have been even more pleased to have seen a greater number applicants whose main concern is function.

Craftsmanship and material understanding were a given to judging this pool, but it was also critical to us as jurors to honor and celebrate voices that traditionally have not been given a place at the table. The sweeping shift from discrete collectible object to art that is time-based, fragile, inclusive of other materials, and made solely for the artist’s personal needs is a major shift. Recognizing and legitimizing the edges of our expanding ceramic universe is what will keep our field vital and relevant.

Ayumi Horie

Arthur Gonzalez

Natalia Arbelaez

Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American, born and raised in Miami, Florida. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, where she received an Enrichment Fellowship. She completed a yearlong residency at the Clay Art Center; Port Chester, New York as a Barbra Rittenburg Fellow and was awarded the 2016 Inaugural Artaxis Fellowship that funded a residency to the Watershed in Newcastle, Maine. Natalia currently lives and works in New York.

I was born in the United States of America but spent the first 4 years of my life in Medellin, Colombia. When I immigrated back to the states I was encouraged to assimilate quickly. I felt to be a proud American meant you had to forget about your past and look to the future. Having been so young, it was easy to forget. First my language, then the food, and eventually everything else quickly slipped away. Still, I was constantly questioned about where I came from, “are you black, Mexican, Puerto Rican, what are you?” I was insulted. I don’t know where it came from, but it became ingrained in me that being a white American was ideal and that’s what you wanted to be. I thought since I was born here I could be those things but growing up in a blue-collar town in the middle of Connecticut constantly reminded me that I was not.

read more in Natalia’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

Adam Chau

Adam Chau is the Program Manager at Clay Art Center in New York. A graduate of the Designed Objects department from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Adam hybridizes digital technology with traditional studio crafts. Recent publications on ceramic technology include Studio Potter, Ceramics Technical, and Ceramics Monthly.

My interest in the multiple stemmed from being a baker’s son. I learned, quickly, that in the production of multiples there is an attuned judgment of quality based on different criteria – taste, decoration, etc – however at the same time there was not a clear line between what was acceptable and what was not (i.e. would a star-shaped cookie still be edible if one of its points was a slightly different length from the others?). Later I would learn that this is called ‘tolerance’.

read more in Adam’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

Wade MacDonald

Wade was born in Nashville, Tennessee to parents who are retired opera singers. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe to conduct research. Wade obtained an MFA in Studio Art from Michigan State University and has attended Banff Centre, Anderson Ranch Art Center, and Red Lodge Clay Center.

In 1919, after the experiencing the horrors of World War I, the German artist, designer, and architect, Walter Gropius, stated in the Bauhaus Manifesto “The ultimate aim of all visual arts is the complete building!” This statement is accompanied by other important declarations including the need to return to craft in an attempt to subvert elitist art institutions of post-war Germany, as well as the importance of developing a unique sensitivity toward craft for the growth of one’s art practice. Gropius’ statement about architecture’s essential role in shaping the culture it reflects is an idea at the fore of my creative research. I have a fervent belief that architectural design and its subsequent construction is a prominent form of new utilitarian sculpture with an experiential power akin to functional ceramics.

read more in Wade’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

Janet Macpherson


Janet Macpherson studied ceramics at Sheridan College, and received her MFA from The Ohio State University. Recent solo exhibitions include the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto, and the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse. Janet lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Hybrids present us with two things happening simultaneously. They are in flux, one always alluding to and challenging the other. The borders between humans and animals, the manufactured and the natural, the spiritual and the visceral are distinct yet permeable, illustrating differences while creating spaces for wonder and uncertainty. The work has also been inspired by visits to the Ohio State Agricultural Fair, where farm animals were clothed in protective fabrics, tethered tightly to posts, awaiting exhibition and judging.

read more in Janet’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation


Sara Parent-Ramos

Born in Washington, DC to Italian/Canadian parents, Sara Parent-Ramos received at BA from Swarthmore College in 2003 and an MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2013.  She has been the recipient of a State University of New York Thayer Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy and has completed residencies at the Cite International des Arts in Paris and Joshua Tree National Park. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Montgomery College in Maryland.

When looking at a strand of hair with our naked eye, one sees a smooth, whole filament. However, through a microscope, the same filament is segmented, an assembly of different parts and subtler structures. Focusing on the overlooked components that define our reality is central to my artistic process and outlook. Through the process of amassing detailed parts, I see in my finished pieces both the whole and the elements that create it. This journey enables me to appreciate the micro and macro simultaneously, reaching an intuitive understanding of the whole work as well as its component parts through accumulation and synthesis.

read more in Sara’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation

Andrew Stansbury

Andrew is a queer ceramic-based performance artist from Cuero and San Antonio, Texas. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, teaching Ceramics and Photography. He received his MFA from UMass Dartmouth in 2017 and is a member of the artist collective The Lullwood Group.

I seek not to appease, but rather confront my audience. To do so, my work and my practice bluntly questions popularized ideals of beauty and desire; I seek my own alternative version of beauty that accepts and is influenced by the unexpected or the traumatic. Through an open-narrative in material, I consume and integrate performance, photography and process-oriented craft to create a unique moment.

read more in Andrew’s Journal Article, and be sure to attend the Saturday morning Emerging Artist Presentation


Reconnecting with 2017 Emerging Artist Kate Roberts

Reconnecting with 2017 Emerging Artist Kate Roberts

Since the conclusion of the 2017 conference in Portland, Oregon, 2017 NCECA Emerging Artist, Kate Roberts, navigated the end of the academic year at her teaching post as a lecturer in the 3D4M: ceramics+glass+sculpture program in the School of Art+Art History+Design at the University of Washington, Seattle. Reflecting earlier this fall on the impact of NCECA’s Emerging Artist recognition on her life and work, Kate shared the following:

The NCECA Emerging Artist award has greatly impacted my practice and life in the months following the recognition. It gave me the reassurance I needed to continue to push the medium of ceramics. Being able to have a show in conjunction with the award provided the platform to make a new body of work that I could then receive feedback from fellow artists and attendees at the conference. This body of work allowed me to play with scale and content that I might not otherwise have made without the challenge.  The award also made possible an international trip to Portugal to continue to gain reference and inspiration for future projects to come. 

The future can be difficult to imagine, let alone act upon. Yet, envisioning what’s to come is a process with which artists continually struggle and engage. Shortly, following her presentation at the 2017 NCECA conference, Roberts learned that she had been selected to create a new work for the 2017 Parcours Céramique Carougeois (PCC), a biennial exhibition organized by Fondation Bruckner, spread across about 30 different locations in Carouge and Geneva, Switzerland. Roberts next had to train her vision on her new project for this selective and innovative program involving artists from twelve countries—all fifteen years or less from receiving their degrees. The goal set by program organizers was to explore tensions between tradition and innovation.

The exhibition ran from September 16–24, but Roberts arrived a month early to build her piece on site in the Halles de la Fonderie, a central location for PCC. Her Gate to nowhere was made of fiber and unfired clay. At the closing ceremony of the symposium, Roberts learned that she had won the Fondation Bruckner Award.

Recently, Roberts took time out of her demanding schedule to consider some questions I’ve been formulating about her work since her presentation in Portland. The generosity and thoughtfulness of her responses provide an opportunity to dig deeper into her thoughts about clay’s aptitude to evoke fragility and permanence, the material’s evolving position in her own contemporary art practice, and her interest in the power of the ephemeral.

JG: The work you shared in your presentation to the 2017 NCECA Conference had a lot to do with working with clay in unconventional ways to engage with space. Your works interrelate to architectural settings and envelop the viewer’s experience of space. There have been rich diverse traditions of ceramics operating in architecture. How do you see your work as building on and departing from those legacies?

KR: I begin my installations in architectural settings in many of the same ways others throughout history have.  I question what the function of the space is, how will the qualities of the ceramic material relate to it, and what are possible ways for viewers to interact. However, where I see my work diverging from this tradition is the fact that the installation is never meant to be permanent. It is always just a visitor.

The spaces I have been most drawn to lately are ones lingering between life and death.  I study these spaces to discover their history and how they became the way they are now.  The temporary installation is meant to highlight these discoveries and to empathize with the space.  I see clay as the perfect medium for intervention firstly for the fact it is just dirt.  This connects often to the foundation of these buildings or the materials that were used to build them.  The addition of clay does not feel other in its use or positioning.  Secondly, the use of the material in its unfired state emphasizes the state of the building itself. Each piece is there to visit, highlight, offer comfort, and then quietly depart.

View the video showing the deconstruction of Kate Roberts’ Gate to nowhere by clicking on its image above, or copy and paste this link into your web browser: https://youtu.be/TcJXU6xFpKc

JG: I wonder if you could share a little about how you see the content of your work beyond the materials and process you use. Some of the works you shared involve wall and gate-like structures. Others are evocative of feminine body and garments. In the current political climate, imagery may be viewed as issue oriented in ways that you might or might not have intended. How do you see your work connected to that of other artists working with similar content within and beyond those working in clay? Who and what are you looking at and gaining inspiration through?

KR: One of my favorite contemporary artists is Diana Al Hadid.  A professor in graduate school introduced her to me and since then I have been consistently enamored by each body of work she creates.  We share an interest in making art that is born out of its materiality and through years of studying her work she has taught me about time and the spirit.  Her work is not overt but instead filled with symbols quietly baring light on her connection to two drastically different worlds, Syria and Midwestern America.  Though the basis of our work does not interrelate, I strive to create work that lingers in this in-between where the audience is allowed to bring their own.

JG: What, if any role does work in media and modalities outside of clay have in your creative process? In what ways do practices like journaling/ writing, drawing, and or digital work feed into your practice?

KR: Recently I have been listening to the journals of the critic Susan Sontag. In her earlier journals, she states “I intend to do everything… I shall anticipate pleasure everywhere and find it too, for it is everywhere! I shall involve myself wholly…everything matters!” I try my best to live in such a way as well. This stems from a residency I had in Paris when I first graduated from undergraduate school. I didn’t have access to a ceramics studio, so instead every day I would pick a part of the city and explore.  I would go to museums that had no direct relation to my work because I felt like I never knew what would and wouldn’t have an impact. I took tons of pictures. That was six years ago and I still find myself going back to those images and notes I made while there. It was an image that I collected of a blueprint of the gate at the Palais Royal that led to an entire body of work dealing with gates. I wish I drew more. My form of drawing is listing questions, drawing webs, and listing words that relate to themes I am dealing with. Probably my biggest challenge but experience that often comes with the greatest reward is getting out of the studio and traveling. It can be hard to do because of time and finances but when it happens it leaves me salivating for more.

JG: You have been balancing your studio practice with extensive commitment to teaching. In what ways does your passion for your work as an educator affect and influence your own studio practice?

KR: Balance is something I’m still trying to figure out and I assume will always be this way.  Teaching has made me accountable.  Accountable for my practice, my work, and for the future of this medium I love.  Teaching has challenged my own sense of questioning.  I ask students all the time not to assume they know how a material works or what the outcome of an idea is going to be.  In telling them, I am constantly reminding myself to do the same thing.  The most influential aspect being an educator has had on my practice is being part of a community dedicated to making and learning.  At the University of Washington, I am surrounded by artists who work with different mediums such as glass, metal, painting, printmaking and come from different backgrounds. It challenges my assumptions and expands my ever-growing toolbox.

JG: What was the most valuable advice you received through your experiences in art education, whether as a student or a teacher?

KR: I mentioned during my artist lecture how John Gill once told me “Just date it, you don’t have to marry it.”  My interpretation of this was just do it.  I believe this fully and I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t just do it.  I can think of many times throughout my short career that I didn’t wait for someone else to do it for me.  For instance, in-between degrees I didn’t have opportunities to show work so I contacted local galleries about curating my own show.  The show gave me a deadline and goal in my studio, allowed me to interact with artists working in mediums that weren’t my own, and enabled me to produce the work I would then apply to graduate school with.  Sometimes you just need to take it upon yourself to get you where you need to be.  This isn’t always easy and often ends with disappointment; though it sounds corny, at least I know I tried.

JG: What would you like to share with students today that may not have been shared with you when you were a student?

Kate Roberts in the studio

KR: Making art is a struggle.  There will be highs and lows and most of the time you will fall somewhere in-between.  When I was going through school, discussions never were quite this candid.  I watched professors have show after show, and from my perspective they were constantly working in their studios.  I never questioned if they had self-doubt about their practice or work.  Since leaving the comfort of school, the struggle expands.  Obstacles and concerns such as life, jobs, the comparison of ourselves to others, the need to push yourself harder in the studio, to dig deeper, and to make better work becomes even more real.

Just the other night I attended an event for an arts organization. In a grant recipient’s acceptance speech, I found his proclamation that making art is a struggle comforting.  It’s okay to feel this way.  Without this struggle, [there] will be no high.  Let it feed you and create a drive to overcome those obstacles. Keep placing one foot in front of the other.  And when something great happens to you, soak it in so that it nurses those moments when you feel low.

JG: Many artists are navigating new challenges in building their careers in an evolving marketplace where traditional galleries and gallery representation appears to be waning. How have you affected by these kinds of challenges and what strategies have you been pursuing to make your practice more visible to collectors and the public?

KR: Two years ago, my practice primarily became about making ephemeral work.  This has presented a new set of challenges that are different than many of my peers:

How can work that is ephemeral be collected?  A photograph is often the only way someone will ever see your work.  In this case, when I take photos of my work I think of them as a piece of art themselves.  I have always tried to make sure that the photograph will give you as much information about the piece as possible in order to allow the viewer to feel what someone in the space might have experienced. Artists in the past have used this as a form of collectability, issuing editions of prints.

-Will galleries exhibit work that might not be sellable?  The nature of my work has closed many doors for some commercial galleries.  My strategy for showing is constantly changing and evolving.  I first started by looking for exhibition opportunities that provided stipends for shipping and installation.  The way I make is often considerate of what my budget is, so I have been forced to be creative in how I ship work.  I wasn’t always so considerate of this, and shipping was an afterthought.  I now try to make that part of the conception of the piece.  Recently, I have been looking into opportunities where a residency is involved and I can make work on site.

-Will galleries show work that is unfired?  This has not been as much of a challenge as I thought it would be.  If a gallery is open to showing work that isn’t to be sold, they usually are okay to showing ephemeral work.  I do have to be aware of the material of clay and how it contains silica.  The installation needs to be so that it is not harmful to those that view it.

JG: What is happening in your studio right now that you are feeling most excited about?

A couple major events happened in recent months that have enlivened my studio practice.  Firstly, I installed a piece in Carouge, Switzerland as part the 15th Parcours Ceramique Carougeois.  I spent a month building the work in an old foundry building.  The piece was up for a week and at the closing the organizers of the event conducted a performance of it being cut down.  I have never filmed the removal of one of these installations.  This has created many possibilities the removal of work could play or become part of the installation itself.  Secondly, I received a Grant for Artist Projects from Artist Trust, an organization based in Washington state, to buy my own portable theatre lighting.  This will allow me to install pieces in spaces that may not be set up for installations or art at all.  I can play with light in ways I have never been able to.  And lastly, I am continuing to research and make with clay dust.  As I worked on the piece in Switzerland, I listened to a book about the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s in the Midwest and was in awe of how the dust lingered in the air.  I think this visual will find its way into a new body of work.

Kate Roberts’ reflections on her work offer all of us an opportunity to be mindful of our own efforts to balance the durable with the ephemeral in our lives and work. At the heart of ceramic art and education, we share our love of making. Teaching and learning through tactile experience with materials and objects link us to one another and to history. As we enter the season of thankfulness, NCECA wishes you and yours peace, safety, and the freedom to create and connect through clay in your lives, studios, and classrooms. The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Art is immensely grateful to the Windgate Charitable Foundation for their support of NCECA’s Emerging Artists program from 2013-2017. Additional blog entries will appear on other 2017 recipients of the award before our 2018 cohort will be announced in the month leading up to the conference in Pittsburgh. 

Below enjoy Roberts’s presentation from the 2017 NCECA conference: