Spotlight: Brett Binford

Spotlight: Brett Binford

Where do you currently live/work? 

I reside in Portland, Oregon and am the co-founder/ co-owner Mudshark Studios, Eutectic Gallery, Portland Growler Company, Kept Goods, and The Clay Compound

What do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

mudshark-groupI wear many different hats: At Mudshark, I love that we are continually solving problems and trying new things. with every email or phone call, we never know what new project or challenge we will be presented with.

Running Eutectic gallery is satisfying in a different way; by giving ceramic artists a platform to show work and having a place for our community to come together is very fulfilling and humbling. Selecting works and preparing each exhibition is also a creative outlet for me.

img_3495My primary function for the Portland Growler company is overseeing marketing. i enjoy the collaborative efforts as well as realizing an object all over the world. Getting my photo taken with Japanese tourists visiting the studio is an additional perk.

Kept goods is a newer venture, so the most exciting part is the design process. i enjoy the ideation and collaborative design process. Managing the compound is interesting as it is layered with community studio philosophy but also drawing from things i have learned from growing Mudshark from a 2 person company to a 30+ person company. while they are both two very different things; one is a community studio rental facility and the other is a production studio, there are many elements that overlap allowing me se the value in building more community in Mudshark and to building more structure in the Clay compound.

Portland is home to an amazing creative and entrepreneurial community.

Where did you grow up? 

cranberry-bogi was born and raised on Cape Cod Massachusetts. More specifically a  small town called Marstons Mills which is central inland. my neighborhood was surrounded by cranberry bogs and one of my fondest memories is the fall time when they flood the bogs to harvest the cranberries and they are all floating on the surface, coupled by the leaves changing color, it is quite a sight to see!

What was your childhood nickname? 

i had a couple: Beanpole- i was raised a vegetarian and was tall and skinny…

the other was Binnie, short for Binford, i suppose.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

my highschool teacher, but the first time i went was Kansas City 2002 while working for Jonathan Kaplan at the Ceramic Design Group.

Tell me a story about your first conference

Chris lyon and Julie Anderson and i went to get sushi and it was Chris’s first time getting sushi. he thought the wasabi was avocado and ate the whole pile in one bite. we have been best friends since and have been business partners for over a decade.

What’s your favorite color? 

Depends on my mood and context. I am actually colorblind, so i love brighter colors like Orange because i can actually see and identify them with confidence.

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board.:

brett-dylan-paulMy entry point has been working with Dylan Beck as Onsite Liaisons. i had no idea that it would go so much deeper than just planning local logistics. in our two board meetings we have been part of deep discussions about the direction of our field, strategic planning to keep NCECA evovling with its membership’s needs and planning beyond just Portland.

Describe your position with NCECA: 

i am an onsite liasion. i have been responsible for locating venues, working to place juried shows at venues. we are currently wraping up the collector tour routes and moving onto coordinating the shuttle routes. i am looking forward to installing “The Evocotive Garden” curated by Gail Brown.

What’s your favorite thing about being on the board? 

being surrounded by such passionate people is amazing. being surrounded by such intelligent people is intimidating.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position? 

most recently, i feel honored to be able to identify and make nominations for the Regional Excellence Award.

Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

img_3494Francis Johnson: my high school ceramics teacher that stood by me while i was a troubled youth. not only did she always give me respect, she gave me the benefit of the doubt when others didn’t; she saw through my adolescence and saw that i was a kind individual deserving of opportunity. She is the reason i didnt drop out of school and went to college. one day she leaned over me while i was throwing a pot and said, “did you know you can make a career out of this?” i was dumbfounded… she pushed me to apply for college, told me all about Afred, “if you’re going to go, this is the place” and she helped me photograph all my works, complete my application and reviewed my essay. Without Francis, i would probably be a drug addict on the side of the road still on Cape Cod.

Jonathan Kaplan: After leaving Alfred, i was seeking a more pragmaitc approach to making a living in the ceramic arts, other than being a production potter or a teacher. i was struggling with technical knowledge of the material among other things. Jonathan not only exposed me to Molds, RAM pressing, Jiggering, etc, but he really took me under his wing to show me how to trouble shoot problems. this gave me the confidence in my own artwork to dream bigger and without bounds. it also showed me that there was an untapped market out there: private label manufacturing. Jonathan is the reason Chris Lyon and i started Mudshark Studios. we loved working for him on all the different projects and wanted to  forge a path for ourselves just like what he had done.

brett-and-thomasThomas Orr: After my time in Colorado with Jonathan and some time away from the studio, i became convinced that going back to school to finish my BFA was important; i felt that having “that piece of paper”meant something and would open doors for me. i moved to Portland to attend  Oregon College of Arts and Crafts (OCAC). Although Thomas was my advisor, we hadnt actually talked once in the first two months until i had my advisory meeting with him. in the first 5 minutes of our 30 minute meeting, we covered what classes i should take to fulfill my credit needs the next semester.  Thomas then slid the paperwork aside, looked at his watch and noted that we had 25 minutes to kill. he proceeded to ask me what i had been running from all this time and why i carried so much guilt around. i proceeded to cry, told him of my adolescence, he told me of his, we cried together, and then he said the most poignant thing, ” Brett, i hope this isn’t my ego speaking, but i think you came to Portland because you and i needed to meet, but i don’t think we need this construct (school) to have the relationship that we will bear together. You don’t need school to do what you want to do(Mudshark), you just need to start your path.”

Tbinfordceramicsreviewhomas gave me the confidence to follow my dreams;  I dropped out of school the following semester and started Mudshark. Thomas and i have remained close for over a decade now, and i continue to look to his sage wisdom for how to live life, share my strengths and weaknesses with others and to “operate from the right place”.

Tell me about your work as an artist.

My personal work is about me. It is a reflection of things I have endured, things I have enjoyed, people I have loved, people I have lost, and as I look back on works I find it to be quite autobiographical in more layers that I could have initially intended.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? 

the cold ones.

brett-celadon-openingIf you were a glaze, which one would you be and why? 

well, as i look out my office door into a gallery full of Celadon, I would say Celadon! where I’m deeper, I am darker, on the surface I am shiny and light. And I am transparent about what I am.

that said, I think I could be any glaze and find meaning in it.

What are a few of your hobbies?

Hobbies, what hobbies?! I work nearly 80 hours a week on all these ventures in clay. and when I have “free time” I generally think about clay, community, designs, or conceptual ideas that I dont have time to begin to complete.  my work is clay, my passion is clay, my life is clay, and I think my hobby is clay.  oh, I do love eating in bed and watching movies, but I dont think that counts as a hobby.

Spotlight: Naomi Clement

Spotlight: Naomi Clement

Where do you currently live/work?

I’m a Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.

medaltaopeningWhat do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

As a Canadian, I never imagined that I would be living in the deep south! It’s obviously drastically different from where I grew up (people, politics, weather etc.) but ultimately I love how family and community-oriented people are in Louisiana. They may have their differences, but when things get tough (such as the recent devastating flood), people really pull together to help out their neighbours.

naomiclement_04Where did you grow up?

London Ontario, Canada.

What was your childhood nickname?

I have a lot of nicknames actually, but Nomi is the most common (my family still calls me that).

How did you first find out about NCECA?

img_3932It must have been when I was an undergrad at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Because of the expense, going to NCECA wasn’t part of what we did as students in Canada, but NCECA was always something that we heard about and longed to go to.

Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

My first NCECA was in 2013 in Houston, TX. I’d taken some time away from clay, and was starting to think about going back to graduate school. I went to NCECA to try and reconnect with the community and scope out schools. I was pretty overwhelmed by it all to be honest, but I just remember having this feeling as I was walking around the resource hall (laden with lots of new goodies for the studio and collection), and thinking “this is where my people are”.

studioshot_1What’s your favorite color?

This is a tough one… I love colour! (yes, I spell colour with a U, and I’m proud of it). I love intense, bright colours the best, and I suppose if I have to pick, peacock/turquoise blue is my favourite.

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board.

I love building community, and being an active part of whatever community I’m in. The NCECA Student Director at Large position seemed like the perfect way to do this on a larger scale. The idea that I could help shape the direction of the conference and all the other great things NCECA does was also really exciting to me.

Describe your position with NCECA

naomiclement_01I serve as one of the two Student Directors at Large (SDAL’s). Essentially my job is to represent the student voice on the board and advocate for student concerns and needs.

What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

I’m sure everyone says this, but honestly my favourite thing about being on the NCECA board is getting to work with such incredibly talented people. I mean really, who wouldn’t want to sit at a table with over a dozen of the preeminent makers, thinkers, doers and educators in our field??? It’s pretty awesome.

naomiclement_02What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

I love being a part of shaping the future of the conference and working with all the talented students in our field who submit conference programming.

Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

My two professors at LSU Andy Shaw and Mikey Walsh have been incredibly influential on my evolution as an artist – they continually inspire me to push my work and ideas further.  Another great mentor over the years has been Joan Bruneau, who I had the pleasure of working with years ago. She is a fantastic potter, and has been very kind and generous with her help and advice about navigating our field.

naomiclement_07Tell me about your work as an artist.

I make pots! For me, making functional objects is all about noticing: noticing the user, noticing the material, and noticing the process. It is about noticing the moments, and creating moments to notice. When you strip it down, function is about thoughtfulness—it is about thinking ahead, about caring and about noticing others. As a maker, I think there is great value in this—seeing and acknowledging are powerful acts.

besticecreamWhat’s your favorite ice cream flavor? 

The LSU Dairy Store (I love that my school has its own ice cream shop!) has a great chocolate Oreo ice cream that I love. The store is dangerously close to the studio which is a bit of a hazard at times…

If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?

Hmmm… I guess I’d be the Water Blue glaze – wide range of firing temperatures, bright, jewel-toned turquoise colour, but crazes a bit.

What are a few of your hobbies?

I really like to cook, whether it is for myself or for friends, it’s one of the ways I unwind. Reading is another hobby, though while I’m in school I don’t get a lot of time for recreational reading!

Spotlight: Russell Wrankle

Spotlight: Russell Wrankle

Where do you currently live/work?

img_1363Toquerville, Utah but will be moving soon to Cedar City, just up the road closer to where I teach, Southern Utah University.

What do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

The landscape and clear skies. We live near Zion National Park and other desert Red Rock landscapes and in just a few minutes you can be in alpine meadows at the top of the mountain. SUU is a great school, my colleagues are supportive and the students are thoughtful and inquisitive.

Where did you grow up?

Palm Springs, California. My dad was a gardener for the stars. I mowed the lawns of Steve McQueen, Barry Manilow, Liberace. And yes, I’m speaking literally.

file-apr-19-8-43-57-pmWhat was your childhood nickname?

Hmm, not sure I should say…Rusticles, Russell the Love Muscle and Radical Russell W. There’s probably more, but I don’t remember.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

Undergrad School.

Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

1-tortugaMinneapolis was a vessel-heavy NCECA with more galleries with great work than one could possibly take in. I was an undergraduate student at the time and I remember being inspired by all the vessels and atmospheric fired ceramics. Things were happening in ceramics in the northern reaches of the Midwestern United States. This was an era when the Mingeisota school in American ceramics evolved out of the impactful work of Warren Mackenzie, Linda Christianson, and Jeff Oestreich among others. Their influences on me were potent, and it was during this NCECA conference that I committed myself to making pottery. My work has evolved away from the vessel since then but that NCECA changed the direction of my life.

What’s your favorite color?

Depends on my mood and context.

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board.

3-two-finger-bang-bangMy awareness of the board grew over the past few years. I never considered myself the “Board” type. But three years ago, my wife was diagnosed with cancer(she’s fine now) and it changed my life. Life moves pretty fast and I don’t have time to wait around until I’m an expert. I now jump in and learn as I go. Plus, Cindy Bracker encouraged me and I like her energy.

Describe your position with NCECA

I’m thrilled to be a part of NCECA and pleased that my role is to facilitate the Gallery Expo. It’s my hope that galleries will continue to add to the commercial and educational component of NCECA, and that artists can find the gallery that best suits their work and values. My association with galleries has only improved my exposure to a wider audience and I look forward to helping NCECA and the Gallery Expo evolve to embrace the ever-changing world of ceramic art collecting and advocacy.

What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

The other Board Members and having a look behind the scenes. I’ve only attended one board meeting so far, but I was very impressed with the concern and sensitivity the board has towards the issues confronting the NCECA members and our field. From gender equality to racial diversity to creating opportunities for all and making room for all voices.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

I’m still learning, but I look forward to getting to know the gallery owners and artists. And to help facilitate the success of the Gallery Expo and all that are involved.

2-conjuring-the-buzzardWho are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

My first art teacher, Von Allen. I still refer to her in the way I approach my work. Dan Anderson, grad school professor, work ethic and his deep knowledge of the field and art in general.

Tell me about your work as an artist.

As I referenced earlier, after my wife’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, my work changed. Not as a response to the experience but I became more daring and experimental. I now longer feel compelled to know the end from the beginning nor do I feel the need to know what my work means. I’m operating on a stream of consciousness level and the meaning in my work is implicit, but I don’t try too hard to figure it out.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?2-homological-theory

Anything with crunch and texture.

If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?

A buttery red.

What are a few of your hobbies?

I like to mountain bike but I don’t do it nearly enough. Teaching and Art making take up a lot of time. But I’m hoping to reinvent myself when we move to Cedar City, there’s great biking there and I need more balance.imgres

Board Bio – Spotlight: Patsy Cox

Board Bio – Spotlight: Patsy Cox

2EchoPark Where do you currently live/work?

I live in Los Angeles, California in the historic area called Angelino Heights, which is a neighborhood of Echo Park. It’s about 2 miles north of Downtown. I am Professor of Visual Art and head of the ceramics area at California State University, Northridge where I’ve taught for the last sixteen years.

 

What do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

The minority population at CSUN constitutes a majority of our 40,000-plus student body, of which 30 percent are first-generation college students. Approximately half of CSUN undergraduates are from low-income families. I love my job because I get to work with one of the most diverse populations in the country and draw from my own experiences as an ethnic minority from a working class family. Living in Los Angeles also allows me to be surrounded by the stimulating and diverse environment that many large urban centers can boast. Aside from the traffic, I feel very lucky.

3FamilyWhere did you grow up?

I was born in Ubon Ratchatani, Thailand.  I completed grammar school in Dracut, a small town in Massachusetts.  I then finished high school in Kearney, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City, where my immediate family still lives. With such deep roots there, I’m especially jazzed about NCECA celebrating its 50th Anniversary in one of my hometowns!

 

What was your childhood nickname?

I was not lucky enough to have a nickname bestowed upon me but my actual name worked well… “Patsy”…  I got blamed for everything!  I’m named after my father, Patrick.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

When I was an undergraduate at Missouri State University it was just an “automatic” thing to do…follow the poster and the NCECA postings to the other side of the rainbow, or whatever exotic locale NCECA was being held.  Of course, because my main cohorts in the studio were going —  Gary Wilcox and Nathan Falter, two undergraduate students also studying with Professor Keith Ekstam – there’s no way I could stand by and watch them going without going myself.

Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

My first NCECA was the 1994 conference in New Orleans. I drove down with a couple of friends from Springfield through Austin, TX. With pennies between us, one of the nights we camped on the beach somewhere on the coast before rolling into New Orleans. My car got buried in the sand and we had to replace the rotors on the car before continuing the journey. It was right after Mardi Gras and my friends felt bad for me because as a very young looking, shaved headed, androgynous looking art student, it was difficult to land any beads.

What’s your favorite color?

Gray and grey, I just can’t decide which I like better.

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board.

Paul Wandless is a good friend and a champion of diversity. It was through our conversations and his example and support that I was inspired to run for a Director at Large position in 2003. I used to fancy myself a rabble-rouser back then and decided to put my money where my mouth was, boy was I naive. Working with the board at that time taught me so much.

4cloudjumpDescribe your position with NCECA

As Past President, I am in the last remaining months of a presidential cycle that began in 2010. My primarily responsibility is the nominations, awards and fellowship review process as well as helping to organize our Past Masters session.

 

What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

They say that the most successful relationships are built upon shared goals. I’ve had my own special bond with each of the individual board members that I’ve gotten to work with. There is a certain polish that this kind of work does. My most favorite thing has been watching the personal and professional evolution of my colleagues in service as we worked toward those shared goals. I have built long-lasting relationships with people whom I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to know. I respect and cherish them all.

5NCECABoard 6PCatTurnbull

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

Playing a small part in acknowledging the superheroes in our field and their work is such an honor. Supporting our members through NCECA Graduate, Regina Brown Undergraduate and Multicultural Fellowships has been an incredible experience and watching the educational programming of Past Masters is one of the most emotional parts of the conference. It is ALL my favorite!

Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

Victor Spinski was the first person that championed me as a young misfit. His example impacted me in immeasurable ways and I think about him every day. Glenda Taylor and all the women who served as NCECA president continue to shape my everyday perspective and values –  Marge Levy, Mary Jane Edwards, Anna Callouri Holcombe, Elaine Henry, Susan Filley and Deborah Bedwell – many of whom I’ve had the honor of working with in service. They are beacons to me each for their own specific way of navigating the world. Sometimes you have to see someone do something before you have the wherewithal to know you can do it too. It was Keith Williams that thought I might be a good NCECA president and I blame him for everything.  He is my “Patsy.”

Tell me about your work as an artist.

I love the ceramic process and deep down I am a potter.  Eventually I will get there.  For now, my focus has been on creating immersive environments that capture my perceptions of the urban landscape. I use modular units to create something I think of as monumental, piece by piece, rather than one piece in and of itself. My large multi-part installations grow and reconfigure each time they are installed in a space.  This summer I’ll install 50,000 pieces at Long Beach Museum of Art.

8Romanesco 7IMG_0070

Currently, I’ve been investigating 3D printing by digitizing my sculptural work and printing it in scaled colored PLA plastic versions. My newest piece and the work I’m most excited about is titled Rabbit Hole at the Lawrence Art Center in Lawrence, Kansas. It totals at only about 900 pieces. Some of the objects are thrown and hand built; some are slip casts from molds that were made of work that was thrown and hand built. Those objects are intermingled with almost eight hundred 3D PLA plastic prints at various scales of one of the thrown and handbuilt pieces in the installation that was digitized. Some of the objects come directly from my hands, some once removed and some twice removed.

10IceCreampicWhat’s your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Pistachio because that is my father’s favorite, really, for no other reason.  I’m not sure I even like the taste of it.  I really like strawberry.  But I like gelato the best.  And, my most recent favorite is shaved snow, birthday cake flavor with cream on the top.  This treat cannot be found in Los Angeles – Kauai ruined me for life.

 

If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?

ANY Shino. When my students use it, it ALWAYS crawls in the weirdest places, chips off their work before firing, shivers, pits, blisters or pinholes during the firing or has any number of other issues—it’s just NEVER quite right but for some reason the students think they have something special in their hands that magically went “wrong” just for them. Crazy cats.

 

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Ms. Danielle Carrig (A&E) and Ms. Patsy Cox (Guest) during the Christmas holiday Press Reception #1 in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Dec. 10, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet Ms. Danielle Carrig (A&E) and Ms. Patsy Cox (Guest) during the Christmas holiday Press Reception #1 in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Dec. 10, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

What are a few of your hobbies?

Running, spinning, gym, decorative terrier-mix herder, family, home restoration and being a good plus one.

11ThreeMusketeers2

Board Bio – Spotlight: Deb Bedwell

Board Bio – Spotlight: Deb Bedwell

Where do you currently live/work?

Yoshi Fujii and Deb in the Clayworks Gallery with a Japanese show that he curated 1/15

Yoshi Fujii and Deb in the Clayworks Gallery with a Japanese show that he curated 1/15

Baltimore, MD

What do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

Which job? I have When I was executive director of Baltimore Clayworks what I liked most was putting together partnerships that put clay in the hands of individuals who had no opportunity to experience ceramics. I loved to see the magic happen. Now that I am solely a teacher at Clayworks and other places, I enjoy that same kind of connection that develops creativity and focus among our students. I also do some contractual and volunteer fundraising for small social service non-profits. I love seeing the excitement and capacity grow as the resources increase.

Where did you grow up?

Bluefield, West Virginia (highest city east of Denver; cold as a stone every month but August)

What was your childhood nickname?

Dee. It stuck and is the name my family calls me.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

I attended Super Mud with a group of Baltimore glass blowers. I was the only clay person.

Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

Same as above; it was at Penn State. I was piled into a motel room with people I didn’t know…BUT I saw Curt Hoard make and decorate those fabulous huge cylinders and watched Betty Woodman make those pillow pots. I was blown away. No turning back.

What’s your favorite color?

Blue – really a deep blue sometimes called cadet blue or cerulean …Ooo but what about those buttery yellows/

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board.

My entry point to the board was serving as liaison, with Leigh Taylor Mickelson, as on-site for NCECA 2005 in Baltimore. I truly wanted the conference so badly to raise the profile for ceramics in our city, and lobbied board members to bring Baltimore to their attention. (how I did that is another story). Mission accomplished. In my present role, Patsy Cox dragged me kicking and screaming into the president-elect “contest”. I’d do anything for that woman.

Describe your position with NCECA

I am NCECA’s current president. In this position, I preside over meetings, of course, but I also get to work closely with Josh and the EC on decisions and policies that affect not only the well-being of NCECA presently, but also on guiding principles that will assist the organization in the future.

What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

I have entrée to so many very smart, savvy people – co-board members, Josh and the staff, volunteers, donors, our members –  whose experiences in the field give shape, texture and perspective to the organization. This board is especially collegial, respectful of divergent opinions and willing to listen and to work toward consensus. It is also empathetic; in my four-year period, I have experienced several life-altering personal setbacks, and board members and Josh have shouldered my responsibilities. I have eternal gratitude to them.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

This is answered above. I could say that I get to broker the speakers list during meetings.

Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

My first ceramics teacher, Lois Long, adjunct at U. of Md. College Park and a former employee at Amaco, required documented gallery visits and taught me to love raw materials. A fabulous mentor was John K. Smith, longtime board chair at Baltimore Clayworks who, by example, instructed me about the value of strategic thinking. Patsy Cox is also a mentor; she sets the bar on the board so high that I constantly aspire to reach it.

Tell me about your work as an artist.

Earthenware Sectional Succulent PlanterMy work is pretty simple. First, I love to draw, and I enjoy painting with watercolors; I have a little studio set up for this in my bedroom. In clay, I make two kinds of work, and everything starts on the wheel and is altered. Porcelain gives me functional pots that make a simple meal special – teapots, cups, bowls, vases. I decorate the greenware with slips and commercial underglazes, brushed and trailed, sgraffitoed through, and back onto bisque with pencils. I use a transparent glaze and fire to cone 10 in a gas kiln. The red earthenware is thrown as very wide, bottomless cylinders. Cut through vertically, they become slabs that I use to build shaped and chambered planters for succulents, fired to cone 1.  (photos attached)

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

The darkest chocolate that I can find.

If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?

I would be Shaner Clear. Why? It has stood the test of time.  It is transparent, and everything it covers is visible. It is tough and resilient, yet very forgiving

What are a few of your hobbies?

NCECA ☺. Watercolor painting. Flower gardening – no good with vegetables. Reading Grandchildren. Considering each day as a gift, every morning.

Board Bio – Spotlight: Jane Shellenbarger

Board Bio – Spotlight: Jane Shellenbarger

Where do you currently live/work?

letchworthI live in Mount Morris, in rural Western New York.  The town is on the edge of letchworth state park which is often likened to the grand canyon of the east. Mount Morris is the home of Francis Bellamy, the author of the pledge of allegiance, and often as I drive past his home I am reminded of how I recited that every morning as a very young student, and how most of us got the lyrics a little wrong.  It makes me smile.

Jeanne in the horse pastureI bought a small log cabin on 7 acres a few years ago and am enjoying living and working in the woods.  Currently my partner Jeanne and I are creating a pasture and horse pen where we will have a home for a couple of horses.

I am an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts, Ceramics Program.

What do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

RIT kiln roomMy work as a professor in ceramics is a deeply satisfying job.  I am able to work with very talented and creatively driven young artists that continue to stretch me as a person and an artist. My students are inspiring and continue to be my friends and colleagues long after graduation.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit.

What was your childhood nickname?

“Janer”

How did you first find out about NCECA?

I discovered NCECA when I was a CORE student at Penland School of Crafts.  A group of Core Students and Residents made plans to drive across the country and attend one year.

Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

MY first conference was in 1989, in Kansas City MO.  My first experience to meet in person Ken Ferguson, and attend Kansas City Art Institute.  Where I later attended as an undergraduate student, and l studied with Ken and Victor Babu and George Timock.  Much later after graduate school I returned to teach at KCAI for a 5 yrs.

What’s your favorite color?

Brown

What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board.

Thanks to Patsy Cox, past president extraordinare who encouraged me to get involved with the board and because I respect her and her service so greatly I decided to run as a Director at Large candidate.

Describe your position with NCECA

My position as Director at Large works with the NCECA Emerging Artists, selecting a jury and working with the jurors for selection of the artists, and organizing their presentations and exhibitions. I also am in charge of selecting the International Residency Partnership.

What’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

My favorite thing about being on the board is sitting around the boardroom table and discussing pertinent issues with some of the most passionate and intelligent minds in our field.  It has made a strong impact on me and our field.  Our discussions are insightful and very interesting

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

My favorite aspect of my position on the board is to select the jury for the emerging artist selection, and working with them. Most recently I was on a threeway skype call with Jim Melchert and Eva Kwong looking at images of the best young artists in our field.  How can you beat that for a service position.

Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

Ken Ferguson and George Timock have both had a huge impact on how I think and work with clay, as well as how I teach.  Cary Esser taught me to be a great teacher, and Dan Anderson taught me to to be a creative artist and teacher with great passion and drive and humor.

Tell me about your work as an artist.

My work with clay is mainly focused on utilitarian objects with deep and varied surface treatments, often including drawings and images that create a dialogue.  My work considers the tipping point between elegance and awkwardness, questioning conventional beauty within historical forms, where the familiar object becomes the artifact. My research embraces multiple histories and the nuanced and complex relationship we have with objects in our everyday lives.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Coffee, from Pierre’s in Cleveland.  When I was a Core student at Penland School of Crafts we would raid the kitchen coolers at night, and Pierre’s Coffee is a fond memory.

If you were a glaze, which one would you be and why?

Avery slip. Its rare and beautiful and subtle.

What are a few of your hobbies?

My dog Fergus, hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and collecting antiques.  Mount Morris is 35 miles south of Rochester and on a circuit for antique collectors across the east.