NCECA 2019 in Minneapolis is just around the corner. As you plan your trip consider enhancing your experience with a Pre/Post Conference workshop. These events are not organized by NCECA. Instead they are planned and offered by the local clay community in the Twin Cities and surrounding area. These workshop options are a way for participants to connect with each other while learning from knowledgeable makers in the ceramics field. They are a great way to meet other clay enthusiast and build excitement ahead of the conference.
Wood Fire Workshop with Jack Troy, Donovan Palmquist and Colleen Riley.
Spend the weekend before 2019 NCECA glazing, loading and firing a wood kiln in Minnesota with renowned potter/author Jack Troy (PA), kiln builder/potter Donovan Palmquist (MN), and potter/glaze fanatic Colleen Riley (MN). The bourry box wood kiln is designed to be versatile, efficient and easy to fire, providing a wide range of effects, from heavy ash to bright flashing, and even colorful glazed surfaces. Jack is known worldwide for his wood fired ceramics, writings, and poetry. We look forward to his delightful stories and observations about all things clay. Donovan (owner of Master Kiln Builders) will share his knowledge of kilns and wood firing techniques. Before loading, Riley will lead a session on glazing for the wood/soda chamber, with time for participants to experiment with more colorful surfaces. Additional talks and demonstrations will be held during the firing. This is sure to be an inspiring weekend for ceramic artists of all levels of wood firing experience. Participation is limited to 12.
Schedule: Friday, March 22 to Monday, March 25; unload kiln on Saturday, March 30.
Cost: $500, excluding housing. Firing costs, materials, snacks and most meals are included. Colleen and Donovan are happy to provide a list of nearby housing options.
Registration: Visit the website www.kilnbuilders.com/689511/workshop/ for more details and registration information. Or, email Donovan and Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eureka Pots/Studio of Donovan Palmquist and Colleen Riley
27607 Grenada Avenue
Farmington, MN 55024
March 25 & 26
Animal Portraits, Print, Pattern and Paper Porcelain: In conjunction with the exhibition Urban Parallel: Ceramics in Scotland, Susan O’Byrne will be demonstrating her making methods at Artistry and running the master workshop Animal Portraits, Print, Pattern and Paper-Porcelain. Over two days Susan will demonstrate working on a nichrome wire armature, building with thin sheets of paper-porcelain and printing and collaging the surface of her forms. The master workshop will allow participants the opportunity to experiment with these techniques and make work in the style of her animal portraits on view through out March at Artistry. The techniques Susan uses in her work combine ways of making normally associated with papier-mâché, textiles, and collage. O’Byrne is a Scottish based ceramic artist. She specializes in the making of allegorical animal forms and has developed a unique set of making processes which aim to articulate human sensitivity.
Full two-day workshop, including Demo: 9:30am – 5:00pm each day (Artist Talk and
Demo separately open to an audience for reduced fee).
Demo Cost: $60-80
Workshop Cost: $345-395 (Materials fees may be included).
Monday, March 25
Artist talk and slide presentation from 9:30-11:15am
Demo with hour lunch break: 11:30am-4:00pm.
Artistry Theater and Visual Arts, Bloomington Center for the Arts,
1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd.,
Bloomington, MN 55431
Contact Sarah Beggs
The Socially Engaged Craft Collective, in partnership with the School of Art and Design at Minneapolis College, is excited to announce a day of workshops, panels, and participation with Cross Pollination: an NCECA pre-conference for artists and educators about socially engaged craft, pedagogy, and artistic action.
Cross pollination suggests exchange and interchange, collaborative action and genetic recombination. Craft and education, art and society are each varietals of humanity’s richest plants. The conference will record, report, conceptualize and enact cross pollination between disciplines and methods, cultures and ideas, objects and people. We aim to speak to interdisciplinary, remixing, intersectionality, and novel combinations while considering traditional and emergent theories of making and teaching.
A one-day participatory conference experience, Cross Pollination will incorporate expert voices from both craft and social engagement perspectives. Participants will find resources and emerging ideas for their art practices and classrooms through panel discussions, lectures and interactive learning experiences. Breakout sessions will focus on the following: Communities (Engaging in Cross-Sector Collaboration); Pedagogy (Engagement and Collaboration in Learning); Idea Generation (Socially Engaged Craft in Practice); and Logistics (the “How To” of Socially Engaged Craft including Ethics and Sustainability).
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Location: Minneapolis College, near Loring Park and the Minneapolis Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis
Registration will open January 1. Please visit Minneapolis College Continuing Education for more information.
**A certificate of completion from the School of Art and Design at Minneapolis College will be available to educators interested in professional development credit.
You know them as wise advisors, educators, innovators, clay cultural leaders, and individuals who embody generous spirits. The NCECA Awards and Honors recognize leaders in the field of ceramics for the their impact regionally, lifetime support of others, roles as educators, and outstanding projects. Each year we look for nominations for these recognitions, through an open call on the NCECA website (We’d love you to nominate someone for next year!). This year, the board voted to approve that ALL awardees and honorees receive lifetime memberships and conference passes to acknowledge the significant contributions each has made (those receiving awards in previous years also receive these benefits now).
We hope you will join us when we recognize and celebrate this year’s Awardees and Honorees on
Friday, March 29th, 5:30-7:00pm, Auditorium Main, Minneapolis Convention Center!
For now, please read on to learn more about each award and to be introduced to each of our esteemed recipients.
Our special thanks to this year’s nomination committee for their thoughtful review of all nominees. 2019 Nominations Committee: Anna Calluori Holcombe, Marge Levy, Brandon Schnur, Lauren Sandler, Rhonda Willers (chair), Russell Wrankle
Regional Awards for Excellence
Honoring commitment and outstanding contributions to the ceramic arts or cultural life, the Regional Awards for Excellence annually recognize individuals in the local and extended regions of the conference host city. The recipients are nominated by the on-site conference liaisons and approved by the board of directors.
This year’s recipients are: Lyndel King, Warren MacKenzie (posthumous), and Em Swartout (posthumous).
From the very beginning, Lyndel promoted the need for a world-class university to have a world-class art museum on its campus. She has left a mark on the University of Minnesota’s campus that few other can claim. I got to be part of that process with her, and I can tell you that the Weisman Art Museum exists because of her indomitable spirit, her intelligence, and her perseverance.
-statement by Frank Gehry, architect of the Weisman Art Museum
Photo Credit: Rik Sferra
In any culture, the needs of the people control the direction of their self-expression. In earlier times, people were directed by their need to find food and to survive. Later they developed belief systems, turning to religion or magic, concerned with gods and goddesses, myths, political power. Artistic expression became a way to support those beliefs, to oppose enemies, to strengthen the culture. I do not believe it is any different in our times.
-Warren MacKenzie, Regis Master lecture, 1997
Photo Credit: Personal Collection of Randy Johnston
Image Description: (Left to Right) Warren MacKenzie, Ken Matzuzaki (of Japan), Phil Rogers (of Wales), and Randy Johnston, 2008 Anagama Firing called “The Sleeping Pot”
Having contributed to the professional development of ceramic arts, Honorary Members positively influence and provide opportunities for others to rise. Often recognized for dedicating much of their lives supporting others, each honorary member is also a creative force and leader with their own artistic practice.
This years recipients are: Doug Casebeer, Elaine Olafson Henry, and Winnie Owens-Hart.
In the fall of 2018, Doug embarked on a new chapter of teaching and service. He will take his knowledge, enthusiasm, and expertise in kiln construction to another institution and group of students fortunate to have him. He is the newest Artist in Residence at the Oklahoma University School of Visual Arts. It should come as no surprise that in the short time he has been at OU School of Visual Arts he has already built a new version of the “little vic” soda kiln for the university.
Casebeer’s philosophic creativity has fueled his fervor as a kind of global “ambassador of peace” for well over three decades. Through workshops and lectures, he believes in bringing grace and beauty into people’s lives through the art experience. His role as United Nations Production Advisor and Ceramics Consultant reads like that of a US Secretary of State, with travels to Washington DC, Taiwan, Mexico, Vienna, Japan, Chile, Geneva, and Nepal, among other destinations.
– Victoria Woodward Harvey, Ceramics Monthly, January 2016
Elaine’s efforts have always been about raising the bar in the field, whether in criticism, publication, exhibitions, or professionalism, and she has done this by example. Henry earned the BFA and MFA degrees in art. Ever open to expanding her knowledge and experience, she is currently working toward and MA in English at the University of Wyoming. She is writing her thesis on ‘Comparative Rhetorical Analysis of Contemporary Art Criticism and Contemporary Ceramics Criticism,’ in an effort to continue to raise the bar by encouraging and contributing to the critical discourse in the field.
– Mary Jane Edwards, Executive Director, Jentel Foundation
She taught at Howard University for more than 37 years and has conducted research, exhibited, and presented lectures internationally. Her career in ceramics began very early in life and has continued professionally since the 1970s. She opened her first studio in 1972 in Alexandria, Virginia. As a young art student, she imagined what pot-making and art must be like in Africa and then pursued that vision throughout undergraduate school. While teaching crafts in a Philadelphia public school, she discovered a film that demonstrated some African women hand-building a huge pot. She realized her dream of studying women’s traditional pottery techniques and culture in 1977, when she was selected to represent the United States and exhibit her ceramic work at FESTAC in Lagos, Nigeria.
After receiving a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts she returned that summer to work in the village. Eventually she took a job with the federal government of Nigeria teaching ceramics at a nearby university to enable her to continue apprenticing traditional pottery, and was eventually accepted as part of the community’s pottery culture. For the past 10-years she has worked with women in a pottery village in Ghana. As both a published author and curator, Owens-Hart has curated exhibitions primarily focused on contemporary African American artists and has also produced documentary films, including Style & Technique-Four Pottery Villages and The Traditional Potters of Ghana-The Women of Kuli. Over more than four decades, her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with work in the collections of the Smithsonian, Kohler, universities, and private collections.
Excellence in Teaching Award
Each of us has a teacher, mentor, someone who has opened our thinking and vision of ourselves. These educators, both formal and informal, often do not realize their full impact. Excellence in Teaching awardees have a career dedicated to the practice of teaching, demonstrated excellence in their own creative work and have highly visible former students in the field. They are beloved, celebrated, and appreciated by their former students and colleagues.
This year’s recipients are: Lenny Dowhie and Louis B. Marak.
Professionally, his activities have had national impact. He was a Founding Partner of Expressions of Culture, Inc., producers of the renowned Chicago International Exposition of Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) Chicago, NYC, Coral Gables and Santa Fe. He continues his involvement in this arena as a Partner in Expo Chicago, the Art Fair Company, Chicago, Illinois, since 2011.
Professor Dowhie set a great example for perseverance, problem solving, and above all—making Art. His usual greeting to his students before class was, “Are you making Art today?” Just that simple phrase set the tone for the class—we were challenged to make Art every day. His class was student led—encouraging the senior students to mentor and teach the younger students, which built everyone’s confidence.
– Gregory A. Byard, former MFA student
His unique combination of casual delivery, pinpoint wit, serious criticism and self-deprecating humor created an interest and passion in his students. He would continue to solidify and support his students at HSU by quietly serving as an invaluable role model for how maintain rigorous teaching and art practices with lasting impacts. He treated students as individuals and challenged each one of us to find our voice, discover our niche within the ceramic world, and to strive to be the best artist in the room. Lou had an uncanny ability to breed confidence and empowerment in students without knowing it. He confronted each student with what we thought we knew about intent, content and process and then magically draw new work from us, leaving us convinced we figured it all out on our own. The impacts Lou has made through his teaching have been profound and continue to resonate, we owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to one person who changed so many people’s lives. (Written by Stuart Asprey)
Outstanding Achievement Award
Recognizing a completed singular project that has contributed to the field of ceramics, the Outstanding Achievement Award honors contemporary artists, educators, writers, and other contributors. Their work is consider above and beyond what is typically within the scope of their professions.
This year’s recipient is: Richard “Dick” Wukich.
Wukich remembers Cushing’s influence on his work and life through support of NCECA conference scholarships to regional high school students and educators in his mentor’s memory. “Val took me to the very first NCECA conference in East Lansing, Michigan in 1967. My support of this scholarship is a way of paying forward his generosity as a teacher and the influence of his expansive vision on my life,” Another way that Wukich has committed to the sustainability of ceramic art in education is through support of educator initiatives through the National K-12 Ceramics Exhibition Foundation.
Wukich is also the founder of Potters Water Action Group, which has chapters all over the world dedicated to working on water quality issues. As an international coordinator for the initiative, Wukich has worked to set up production studios across the globe in countries such as Haiti, Nigeria and Nepal. Potters Water Action Group strives to provide safe drinking water through education, research, development, and the dissemination of ceramic water filters.
Are you an artist? Do you struggle with writing? The American Craft Council wants to help!
It can be intimidating to get your thoughts down on paper. But writing, just like throwing pots, is a skill that can be learned. The ACC firmly believes that any artist can put together a thoughtful and compelling artist statement. What’s more, we understand how important these statements are when it comes to securing exhibitions, grants, and press opportunities. That’s why we’re giving a talk focused on writing tips and holding one-on-one coaching sessions to help attendees of “Claytopia,” NCECA’s annual conference, perfect their artist statements this spring.
Each half-hour session will pair an artist with a unbiased, experienced editor – including staff from our award-winning magazine American Craft. Be sure to bring a draft of your statement to the coaching session along with any questions or concerns you may have, whether they be about grammar, clarity, or tone. The talk (“The Write Stuff”) is scheduled for earlier the same day and will provide helpful tips and readily accessible resources to help you hone your writing skills and improve your confidence.
The talk is open to all “Claytopia” attendees, but space is limited for the coaching sessions. Reserve your spot today on the Eventbrite sign-up page.
We can’t wait to work with you!
The Write Stuff Talk
Friday, March 29, 2019
1:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room 2
Artist Statement Coaching Sessions
Friday, March 29, 2019
3: 15 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room L100H
Megan Guerber is the interim editor in chief of American Craft, the bimonthly publication of the American Craft Council. Prior to joining the ACC in 2016, she wrote for Public Art Review and SciArt in America, was assistant curator at AC Institute, a nonprofit gallery in New York, and served as a researcher and production assistant for the International Award for Public Art.
Sarah Heitmeyer Qwist Joseph Nick Lenker
Lindsay Montgomery Sean Scott George Rodriguez
NCECA’s Emerging Artists program recognizes exceptional early career artists highlighting them to an international audience during NCECA’s Annual Conference. 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. The intent of the award is to recognize, cultivate and amplify vital, new voices of creative endeavor in ceramics.
Sarah Heitmeyer – Sarah creates decorative tile and tableware to emulate a calming experience. Merging ornament with natural occurrences such as rippling water is not only a question of ornamental design, but of understanding an immersive experience. She pairs digital and craft based techniques to infiltrate contemporary design and honor traditions of handmade ceramics. Sarah received her MFA at the State University of New York at New Paltz and BFA from Alfred University. She has worked for KleinReid, Kala Stein Design, ModCraft Tile and the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center.
Qwist Joseph – Qwist is interested in using ancient processes in a contemporary context. By combining clay, bronze, wood and found objects, he makes mixed media sculptures that push against the limits of material hierarchies. Working intuitively, Qwist creates order and meaning from the fluid nature of the creative thought process. Qwist holds a BFA from Colorado State University and an MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He completed a residency at the Archie Bray Foundation and is currently a resident at the RAiR program in New Mexico.
Nick Lenker – “The ceramic objects are attempting to be “real” within a physical as well as a virtual space. We are the object. I create the object. It is blank. I give it identity with a skin made of photographs that don’t belong to it. Can it be “real”? This can be complicated“. Nick makes objects thats are shallow and surface focused, the forms simplified. The ceramic objects and animations are tied to specific memories from his past, an attempt to see those memories from the perspective of another. Nick studied ceramics at the University of the Arts and holds a Master’s Degree from the Tyler School of Art. He is a resident artist at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.
Lindsay Montgomery – Through the re-imagining of ancient crafts with an urban-feminist-folk perspective, Lindsay’s work weaves dark narratives that highlight tensions and injustice through the vernacular of subculture and resistance. Lindsay works across a variety of media including ceramics and puppetry to create narrative performances and objects. Her work is focused on creating mythologies examining death and mysticism, family dynamics, and evolving modes of power. She earned a BFA from NSCAD, and an MFA from the University of Minnesota.
George Rodriguez – Georges current work continues his exploration of the interconnection we share as people, and of how our differences should be a means to unite rather than separate. George looks at the importance of inclusivity and how different cultures influence each other through celebration rituals, objects of worship, and representations of community. Born and raised in the border city of El Paso, TX, George received a BFA in ceramics from the University of Texas El Paso and an MFA from the University of Washington. He has shown extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Sean Scott – The vessels Scott creates are meant to enrich the experience of storing, serving and consuming food and drink. The aesthetics reflect a personal sense of place where he lives in rural Minnesota. Scott intends for each piece to be an interactive component in a collaboration between maker, user and environment. Sean earned his B.F.A. from Ohio University and his M.F.A. from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He currently operates Pomme de Terre Pottery in rural Battle Lake, Minnesota.
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 2019!
For those of you who are planning on attending NCECA 2019 in MInneapolis, ClayStories is back for our 5th installment. We’re inviting you to join hosts Steven Branfman and Gerald Brown along with some outstanding clay people for an evening of storytelling around the theme of clay. The 90 minute event is scheduled for Friday, March 29, 7:30-9pm. A dozen or so potters will be given a maximum of 5 minutes to tell a clay 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 lineup of storytellers as we can possibly assemble.
Your story may be funny, it may be sad, it may be poignant, it may be tragic, it may involve the fire department, your mother-in-law, an encounter, a trip and accident or a random event. You get the idea. Seems like any time two or more potters get together, interesting things can and do happen!
The deadline for entries is NOW. We will announce the full lineup with time for you to prepare.
Email a brief, two or three line synopsis of your story to Steven at email@example.com with the subject line : “ClayStory Submission.” include your full name, snail mail address, and the best phone # to reach you.
Looking forward to hearing your story!
Thanks, Steven Branfman and Gerald Brown