Board Bio – Spotlight: Jill Oberman

Board Bio – Spotlight: Jill Oberman

Where do you currently live/work

I currently live in Carbondale, CO, and I rent studio space with over 20 other local artists at SAW (Studio for Arts and Works).

MT Sopris_Carbondale_Oct 2015What do you like most about your job? OR  What do you like most about where you live?

Carbondale is an amazing town to be a maker. There are many great artists who live in our valley, and we are all working in support of one another- including organizations such as the Carbondale Clay Center, Anderson Ranch, SAW, Harvey Meadows Gallery, and the ArtStream. Plus, it is absolutely gorgeous around here!

Where did you grow up?

Winnetka, Illinois

What was your childhood nickname?

Jillo

How did you first find out about NCECA?

My ceramics teacher at Hamilton College, Bob Palusky, said if I was going to major in ceramics, I would have to go to NCECA. He also sent me to a workshop at Anderson Ranch in 1990 that changed my life.

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

My first NCECA was in Philadelphia in 1992. I remember being overwhelmed by all of the activity, all of the clay artists who all seemed to be friends, and all of the amazing artwork I saw. I also remember seeing Paul Soldner joyfully skipping down the street by the Clay Studio, arm in arm with a friend, laughing loudly. Before that, he was just a man in a book.

What’s your favourite color?

clothes: black

sky: blue

water: blue

sand: white

mountains: red

glaze: black

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

I have attended every NCECA conference except two since 1992, and have grown to love it for a great ceramic and social resource every year. I am happy to give back for all that it has given to me. Deb Bedwell was the first to suggest Board service, and I feel privileged to be involved.

Describe your position with NCECA

I am the NCECA secretary. I take minutes at our meetings, I have oversight to voting, and I am recently the Chair of the Curatorial Task Force.

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

I am continually impressed by the intelligence and integrity of the board as a working group. Decisions are made after thorough discussions that consider a variety of viewpoints, opinions, and outcomes, and are executed with the best intentions for the NCECA community. Then, we take that professional camaraderie out with us to dinner after a long meeting, and get to know more about each other. This group seems to know how to work hard and have a good time, too. It is an honor to serve alongside such talent and dedication.

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

This is a hard question to answer, as so many people have helped me grow along the way, and I hate to leave anyone out…

I consider a mentor to be someone whose voice I can hear over my shoulder while making work and developing my career. I am grateful to Bob Palusky and Rick Hirsch, who were my teachers in college and grad school. Bob gave me my beginning clay construction instructions, and also supported me in deciding to major in ceramics. Rick Hirsch taught me how to see, and how to talk about what I was seeing. Doug Casebeer, and the Anderson Ranch have been invaluable in forming the artist and person that I am today. Doug is always there when I need to talk something out, and has helped me brainstorm when things are challenging in the studio and in my life. The Ranch has given me so much, including technical information, work experience, and community that feels like family. I have also benefited from the mentorship from my peers and studio-mates. I have learned from and love you all, but have been most deeply affected by friendship and support from Julia Galloway, Jess Parker, Jenn Reed, Ayumi Horie, Pelusa Rosenthal, Emily Ward Bivens, Tai Pomara, and Rick Parsons. We’ve been through some stuff together, and I could not have done it without you. You all rock!

BloomTell me about your work as an artist.

I make minimal, subtly narrative ceramic sculptures for the wall that are like windows with a beautiful view. My most recent work explores the idea of an “absent presence”, where I use wax resist to paint imagery on my forms to create a situation where what is most important in the narrative is that which is no longer there…

What’s your favourite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate

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

Matte black is my favorite, with celadon a close second

What are a few of your hobbies?

I like to bake and to knit

Board Bio – Spotlight: Shalya Marsh

Board Bio – Spotlight: Shalya Marsh

Where do you currently live/work

I am currently a graduate student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.image_tag_ex

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

One of the things I really love about Lincoln, NE is an organization called Foodnet.  I volunteer there once a week.  Foodnet collects and distributes food from local businesses that is near its expiration date, or is slightly damaged in some way and redistributes the food to people who can use it. I found after my first semester in Graduate School that I needed something in my life that was not connected directly to ceramics or the University and Foodnet fit the bill.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York.

What was your childhood nickname?

My mother calls me Pacqui from time to time.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

FullSizeRenderI, like many students of ceramics, learned about NCECA from the Clay Club at SUNY New Paltz where I did my undergraduate studies.  Like other clubs throughout the country we made and sold pots and sculpture to fund trips to the annual conference.

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

Wow, it’s hard to remember which was my first NCECA, I think it was Dallas in 98.  I will tell you that my strongest memory of NCECA was the 1999 conference in Columbus, Ohio.  The exhibitions that year really broadened the way I thought about ceramics.

What’s your favorite color?

Hard to say – at the moment it has been fluctuating between red and purple.

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

During my fellowship year at the Baltimore Clayworks I watched our current President Deborah Bedwell run for her position on the board.  My interest was partially from seeing her dedication and service, and partly because volunteering, education, and working with non-profits has always been part of my practice.

Describe your position with NCECA

As one of two Student Directors at Large, I am tasked with representing the interests of NCECA’s student membership.  In that capacity the Student Directors work to develop and promote Student programming and opportunities such as the NSJE, Student Perspectives, Critique Room and Fellowships.

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

The people.  As with NCECA as a whole the people are what make it exceptional: their dedication, creativity, passion, and intellect.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

Writing BLOG posts – just kidding. I do enjoy writing for the blog but truthfully there is not just one thing that I like.  I love learning from all of the talented and dedicated board members and the NCECA staff, getting to really know the ins and outs of the programming and opportunities NCECA as an organization provides, and being a sounding board for students questions and concerns.

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

Jeffrey and Shalya Playing Dress UpThe catch all answer is that I believe in some way every person who I encounter has an influence on me.  Some of those influences are more obvious, others so subtle they go unrecognized. Of course the truth is my mother and my husband are the most important people in my life.  My undergraduate faculty and my graduate faculty – Margaret Bohls, Eddie Dominguez, and Pete Pinnell have inspired me to take risks, be my own critic, and push both my work and my professional practice.  I am also incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Debbie Sigel while participating in a residency at Millersville University in Lancaster, PA; and last but not least, all the students that I have had the pleasure of learning with over the years. (There are too many to list but you know who you are.)

Tell me about your work as an artist.

ShalyaMarsh-1-DSC_1382-fav-EDIT-blogMy focus in the last year has been on a body of work that utilizes digital methods of production, combined with handwork, to create pieces that formally explore multiples and variation as a means of expressing content that deals with distance, tension, and absence.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate.  I love anything with chocolate!!!

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

A Turtle – Oh wait did you say GLAZE?

On the way to a Scooter RallyWhat are a few of your hobbies?

When I’m not making art I enjoy sewing on paper, playing dress up with my friends, and restoring, and riding vintage scooters.

Board Bio – Spotlight: Chris Staley

Board Bio – Spotlight: Chris Staley

Where do you currently live/work?

eastview_terrace_residence_hallsState College , Pa at Penn State University

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

Working with students

Where did you grow up?

All over.  6 different places from Long Beach, California to Westfield, New Jersey.

What was your childhood nickname?

Stinger

How did you first find out about NCECA?

Went to Super Mud when combined with NCECA in 1978

c8419ad17c7eef6216d198f6368d4deeTell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

Watching Ken Ferguson throw a football into audience (at the above referenced Supermud conference).

What’s your favorite color?

Blue

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

Relationships. Seemed like the right thing to do at  a specific point in time.

Describe your position with NCECA

President- Elect

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

Learning and trying to contribute

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

Potential to make a positive contribution.

164257Who are some of your mentors, and how have they shaped you as a person/artist? (both in and out of the organization/field)

Robert Turner.

Tell me about your work as an artist.

Being an artist is about expressing my thoughts and feelings with my hands.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Pistachio

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

Kiln Gods

What are a few of your hobbies?

reading, squash, walking dog

Board Bio – Spotlight: Mary Cloonan

Board Bio – Spotlight: Mary Cloonan

Where do you currently live/work?

Charm City- Baltimore, Maryland at Baltimore Clayworks and Towson University.

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

b_clayworks_04As the Baltimore Clayworks’ Exhibitions Director, I love curating shows, putting together the best “Mix Tape” of artists, supporting the emerging and established craftspeople to inspire our students and collectors. It is also a lot of fun to invite your favorites to come and do a workshop and share their magic. As a teacher, sometimes it’s the students who do the inspiring and we learn so much together. Baltimore is a pretty fun town for the arts, of all sorts: visual and performing. Plus, you can afford to live and make your work. In addition, I have met some of the best humans around in this town and through Clayworks.

Where did you grow up?

b1780-1

The Empire State.  Upstate, Western New York- in Greece (the largest town in the largest county in the state) along the shores of Lake Ontario. Usually I just say Rochester, home to Kodak, Xerox and Genesee Beer. My first words were “Lake Effect Snow” and we were taught shoveling skills at an early age.

 

IMG_8360What was your childhood nickname?

Bushbaby, for my unruly red hair.

How did you first find out about NCECA?

My professor, Mitch Messina at Nazareth College would talk about it when he would return from attending one and soon after graduation, I had my chance to see for myself.

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

In 1996 it arrived in my home town, which made it impossible not to go. I wandered about seeing shows, collecting postcards and listening lectures, but spent a lot of time in the demonstrators room. Janis Mars Wunderlich, Peter Vandenberg, Julia Galloway and John Glick are whom I remember most. Sat up front to watch Janis build her sculpture, marveling at how lucky I was to sit, literally at the feet of one of my heroes. I got a lot of techniques and tips from it but I think the bigger impact was seeing the creative process and studio discipline in action.

What’s your favourite colour?

Lime Green

bal-ugc-photo-greater-baltimore-cultural-alliance-elects-de-2015-01-22What or who inspired you to get involved more deeply in the organization, and what was your “entry point” to the board?

Deb Bedwell is an extremely persuasive personality. She is good at seeing things in people that they may not see themselves. She stopped me in the classroom at Baltimore Clayworks, with that look in her eye, said she had a proposal for me and here I am.

Describe your position with NCECA

I work with the board to select the programming for the conference, trying to organize and streamline the jurying method and fiddle with the days and times to fit all that good stuff into the schedule. It’s a tough process, sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day to fit it all and hard choices are made.  Other times we have a gap and I can reach out and solicit programming. Year round, we are fine tuning the conference, with board spread across the nation and timezones, adding feedback and suggestions.

Then I am boots on the ground with Dori and the AV crew during the conference.   I provide the “what is happening and when” schedule for the board, assemble the Powerpoints for the opening and closing talks, put out fires and sleep very little. Basically, I work to make the best possible conference that I will never get a chance to see, since I am behind the scenes. I am still on the quest for the perfect, comfy shoes, I logged in a literal marathon last conference shadowing Steve Hilton

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

Sitting at a table filled with passionate, generous and talented people.  As a volunteer board, we all have crazy schedules and yet I can reach out to them and they come through with considerate thoughts and invigorating ideas.  It is a condensed illustration of the ceramics community as a whole: potent, creative and compassionate.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

After years of attending NCECA conferences, I felt I needed to give back. I like the puzzling of the components into a compelling conference, just like an awesome mix tape. Working to tailor it to the variety of interests of our membership, find new topics, balance viewpoints. It ties in well to my curatorial practice as an exhibitions director, just with a more ephemeral result. Plus I get to work with such astonishing people that I am not sure if they are actually human or in reality brilliant mythical creatures.

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 Mom and Dad always supported me being an artist, so I am very grateful to them.

FullSizeRenderMr. Robertson, my elementary school art teacher. He made me want to be an art teacher and he let us listen to Queen.

Mitch Messina, my undergrad professor from Nazareth College. He was the perfect inaugural  clay teacher for me- a sculptor, working in sections and non-traditional surfaces. It was invigorating to build big from smaller pieces and finish those with paint.

David McDonald, my grad professor from Syracuse. He is an amazing potter and what he saw in my sculptures I am still not sure. But I learned so much about discipline, integrity, hard work, craftsmanship, aesthetics and jazz from him.

Steven Hilton, mentor to the mental. I never could have even attempted this position without his espresso-fueled insight and hand holding.

Deb Bedwell, force of nature and nurture.

Tell me about your work as an artist.

Cloonan_group Reliquary hands-001Narrative sculpture of purposeful ambiguity, frivolous functional and dysfunctional wares and jewelry. Obsessed with hands, cephalopods and books as metaphorical elements. Love textures and carve my own stamps.

What’s your favourite ice cream flavor?

coffee

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

I like a zingy lemon glaze over a rustic gingerbread bundt cake, maybe with some crystallized ginger chopped fine and added to the batter and sprinkled on top. The contrasting flavors make a surprising melody.

Wait, do you mean ceramic glaze?

I don’t use a lot of glaze in my sculptural work and the functional tend to be bright, commercial types like a five year old with a crayon box. I do love Amaco velvet Electric Blue underglaze and Redart slip, for it’s vibrant resonance and gregarious warmth, respectively. I also use acrylic paint, watercolor, colored pencil and metallic leaf to complete the surface. Not sure if those count as a glaze.

What are a few of your hobbies?

I love music: listening to and attending concerts. Josh Ritter, Tom Waits, The Smiths, Hilary Hahn and Sydney Bechet are some favorites. Oh, and Talking Heads, Toumani Diabate, Patty Griffin, Crowded House and… ok stopping there or this will take a while.

I have an enthusiastic, if naïve approach to gardening. I hate to mow the lawn, so I started to dig it up for a garden. Of course, I have spent more time gardening than if I just left things alone and paid the neighbor boy to do it.

Baking is also something I love to do. and it usually involves butter and chocolate, so that is a bonus.

Being a borderline crazy cat lady, I origami paper scraps into perfect spheres that I flick to my boys, Calvin and Hobbes who promptly chase it around and until its under the couch.  There it is lost forever and the cycle begins again. George looks on with skeptical amusement.

I like to sew, small bags and simple circle skirts with fabric from Ikea or upholstery stores (wider yardage for a wider bottom) not sure if that is a wise fashion choice, but it goes back to that five year old and her crayons.

Board Bio – Spotlight: Amy Duke

Board Bio – Spotlight: Amy Duke

Where do you currently live/work

Yellow Brick RoadI lead a double life! I live in Kansas City, Missouri, but I work in Lawrence, Kansas at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

 

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

I have the good fortune of spending my days (and plenty of nights) in the company of more than 40,000 great works of art from 4,000 years ago to today, and from every continent except Antarctica. The thing I love most about my work as public programs and visitor experience manager for the Museum, is the opportunity to create interpretive programs and events that activate our exhibitions and collections and open new pathways for understanding art. Ok, two things—and I love watching the 11.0164alchemy that happens when visitors engage deeply with a work of art. To quote Goldilocks, Kansas City is “just right”. With 2 million people and being right in the middle of the country, it’s a great home base with a disproportionately awesome cultural arts community relative to the population. Not too cold, not too hot, with four beautiful seasons. I think the yellow brick road in Wizard of Oz refers to the golden leaves that blanket the area at this time of year (check out this photo of my neighbor’s house!)

 

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Virginia, lived in Tehran until 1979, but spent my school years in Houston. Houston will always be home—the whole family is there.

 

What was your childhood nickname?

Can you keep a secret? With two brothers towering over me, I was always on the smaller side (but never the quietest one) and my dad called me “mouse”. Whenever he travels, I’m sure to receive another mouse-themed tchotchke.

 

How did you first find out about NCECA?

I moved to KC in March 2002, the same week that NECECA was last in Kansas City. We moved into a house just a few steps from the Ceramics Building at KCAI and had no idea what was going on, but there were people everywhere, exhibitions all over town, and an energy that made me feel so excited about moving to this new city where we didn’t know a soul. NCECA welcomed me to my new home. It made a lasting impression on me and is the reason I am serving as on-site co-liaison alongside Paul Donnelly.

 

IMG_2891Tell me a story about your first conference (including city and/or year)

I would count KC 2002 as my first conference, even though I only saw one or two exhibitions. I was fortunate to attend Providence so I could meet NCECA members and see how the many pieces of the NCECA conference puzzle fit together. Fun fact: shortly before attending NCECA, my longtime boyfriend and I got engaged and he gave me the most extraordinary ring with three interlocking bands: one with stones, one that’s white gold–and the third is black ceramic. So, my involvement with NCECA is kismet!

 

What’s your favourite color?

Indigo! It’s such a tactile color.

 

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

The Pauls: Paul Donnelly and Paul Sacaridiz. But I also had an opportunity to work with Teri Frame on a project a couple years ago that I count as a career highlight. I am not an artist or directly connected to the ceramics community, but I love ceramics for the same reason I love indigo: it’s tactile and intimate and has such a rich and storied history.

 

Describe your position with NCECA

BVpmlZjpGbURHLwq6ZKrEafJ4EI5FKW3PjNxtKixxFM,e-a_4pJq9ZOryD9T8imV6cnkOSLCXcYUQwcLFWpPVHEI’m the on-site co-liason which means I joined the board a year before the conference, and will step down after Kansas City. The on-sites are involved in selecting, siting and gathering information about the many exhibitions that will be on view during the conference. You’ll have nearly 100 exhibitions across greater Kansas City and Lawrence to enjoy. We also assist with aspects of the bus tours, the Collectors Tour, the Randall Session, and other duties as assigned : )

 

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

Just as NCECA welcomed me to Kansas City back in 2002, the board welcomed me as if I was an old friend. I am continually impressed and touched by the spirit of generosity and support that the NCECA board and its members share with one another and have extended to me. I’ve also learned a great deal about board operations and I’ve marveled at the ways the director and board members  have modeled leadership and so thoughtfully built consensus.

 

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

NCECA is so much more than a conference in a convention center, it is a community-wide celebration of clay in the truest sense and rallying our colleagues to participate in and extend that celebration is thrilling. And what could be more stirring that cooking up plans for the Randall Session?

 

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 grandmothers are up there on the highest pedestal of champions. I found a great mentor in Greg Stevens, associate director of professional development at the American Alliance of Museums. He’s a force and good friend who is full of crazy ideas and sage advice.

 

IMG_1027Tell me about your work as an artist.

I’m not an artist, but my fiancée is a photographer, so I get to see the world through his lens.

 

What’s your favourite ice cream flavor?

Fred and Ginger. It’s molasses, gingersnap, and vanilla, and I get a personal phone call from the creamery when they make a new batch. I’m also on the call list for carrot cake.

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

Shino. It’s the first glaze I used in my college ceramics class. Is there an indigo glaze?

Board Bio – Spotlight: Leigh Taylor Mickelson

Board Bio – Spotlight: Leigh Taylor Mickelson

141-145_Main_Street,_Ossining,_NYWhere do you currently live/work

Live in Ossining NY, work at Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY as Executive Director

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

3What I like most about working at Clay Art Center is the community of artists and staff who are so passionate about clay, as well as the opportunity to see students and artists grow, right under my nose — and I love that I have something to do with that.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Baltimore, MD!

What was your childhood nickname?

Well, my family called me Leigh-Leigh

How did you first find out about NCECA?

I heard about NCECA from my undergraduate ceramics professor, Bob Palusky.

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

Bob encouraged us all to go and my first NCECA was in 1991, when it was in Philadelphia. I was a sophomore in college.   I was blown away, especially by the Eastern European show that Jimmy Clark had curated for The Clay Studio.  It made an impression.  It is the only thing I remember from that first NCECA.

1915156_1137658799725_1086178_nWhat’s your favorite color?

Green!

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

I was asked twice before to join the board and each time I just didn’t have the time (each time I had either just had a baby or was about to have one).  I was the Exhibitions Director at Baltimore Clayworks

Describe your position with NCECA

I am the Exhibitions Director, in charge of NCECA sponsored exhibitions and providing oversight for concurrent exhibitions.

10367585_10203827206270536_7949353695983389418_nWhat’s your favourite thing about being on the board?

Getting to sit around the table with the brightest minds in the field of ceramics.

What’s your favorite part of your specific position?

Being behind something that supports artists in a significant way.  Being invited into or accepted into an NCECA sponsored exhibition is a big deal, thanks to the high quality and excellent reputation of past exhibitions.  I also love forming exhibitions – it is like making art in a lot of ways.

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

Deb Bedwell  – she took me under her arm when I was just out of grad school and brought me into Baltimore Clayworks.  I started out teaching there, and soon joined the staff.  She taught me how to be an arts administrator, and mentored me in many other ways.

Botanical No. 113

Tell me about your work as an artist.

It is abstract organic sculpture – I use forms from nature as a metaphor for the many nuances of Lure (kernel)_fbuhuman relationships.

 

 

What’s your favourite ice cream flavor?

Coffee almond fudge.   Or Coconut

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

Oh jeez.  This is a hard one.  I use all commercial glazes, happily, because then I don’t have to mix them.  I can’t pick just one.  It is the many range of textures, surfaces and colors that I have in my glaze palette that together define who I am as a person.

What are a few of your hobbies?

Knitting. Cooking.