This year the Green Task Force will be back in the Resource Hall at booth space #137, Look for the NCECA GTF Banner.  We have several special guests that will be in and out of the booth during the course of the conference.  I want to give a huge thank you to all of the people that are contributing to the booth this year and are really making the GTF shine.  Here is a brief bit of information on the people that will be in the booth:

Sustainable Ceramics: By Robert Harrison: We will have a copy on-hand for you to take a look at, this is a great publication that was mentioned in an earlier blog post, the GTF is highlighted in the book and it is jam packed full of information.

Dawn Soltysiak: She will have some solar panels with her and be ready to talk solar, here is her story
A visitor to Fernwood Farm in Fennville, Michigan, would likely note the usual collection of barns and sheds clustered about the typical Midwestern rural farmhouse.  A walk down the drive past the house, however, would reveal something unusual about the long barn that extends into the back pasture.  All along the pitched roof lay 78 solar panels, absorbing sunlight and converting it to just under 25,000 kilowatts of electricity each year.  Owners Dawn and Rob Soltysiak operate the 30-acre sustainable farm where Dawn, a ceramic artist, runs Khnemu Studio and gallery and fires her kilns on solar power.  Khnemu Studio offers classes, visiting artist workshops and a gallery which features over 25 regionally and nationally known ceramic artists.

With Fernwood Farm well established in its sustainable agricultural practices, Dawn started to think about alternative energy sources.  Intrigued by alternative energy sources, she wrote a proposal to the USDA’s Rural Energy for America program and was awarded a grant that provided up to 25% of the cost of renewable energy for rural small businesses and farms.  Her north/south positioned long barn offered the perfect place for solar panels and installation of the 17.94 kilowatt-hour solar array of 78 230-watt panels was completed in December of 2012.  The electricity produced by the system is used to power the studio and the kilns.  The daily average production is about 68 kilowatts a day, with a yearly average of 25,000.  Dawn says that the average household uses about 10,000 kilowatts per year.  She explains that the production is managed on a credit system: if on a given day, her production exceeds her needs, she earns credits.  The energy is channeled into the nationwide “grid,” and is not stored in batteries.  Dawn says, “If I make more than I need, why shouldn’t I share that with my neighbor?  I would rather share it than store and potentially lose it – storage is limited and eventually lost.”  On days when Dawn uses more than she produces, her credits make up the difference.  For the most part, the system has met her needs, except for periods of excessive firings, for example, to meet a large commercial order.  She estimates she will recoup the $53,000 cost of the system within five years, including the grant funding.

For more information visit

Robert Oakes:
Robert is the owner of CI Products, the maker of the Cink.  This is an awesome product that recycles the same 11 gallons of water for use in all studio clean-up.  I have three of these in the studio at Chaffey College, two for clay clean-up, and one for glaze.  They make it a snap to take the sediment and put it back into use when you clean out the Cink severely cutting down on studio waste.  Robert will have a Cink there for demonstration so we can all see the magic happen.

Laura Cohen and Herb Massie:
Baltimore Clayworks’ Community Arts Directors demonstrate how quality ceramics programming aid adult men in substance abuse recovery through discussion and a documentary screening. The film created with The Fetzer Institute, who made this project possible, recognizes Clayworks as an exemplar of love, forgiveness and compassion in craft.

Laura is a community artist, arts administrator, mentor, organizer and Director of Community Arts at Baltimore Clayworks. She has her B.S in Art Education from the University of Vermont and a Master of Arts in Community Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a licensed art educator and has been directing the Community Arts department at Baltimore Clayworks since 2009. Laura works collaboratively with her Co-Director and various communities to overcome stereotypes, prejudices, misconceptions and other barriers through access to high quality clay programming.

Herb Massie is a community artist, organizer, teacher, sculptor, mosaic artist and Director of Community Engagement at Baltimore Clayworks. Herb is self-taught, pulling from experiences having grown up in Baltimore,MD. Herb uses clay as a vehicle for healing, relationship development and community building. He has been leading the ceramics program at Tuerk House since 2009, where he works with adult men in recovery who are non-violent ex-offenders. Herb works collaboratively with his Co-Director and different communities to overcome stereotypes, prejudices, misconceptions and other barriers through access to high quality clay programming.

Meg Roberts:

Meg Roberts is a North Dakota native who grew up in a household of makers, which informed her studies and eventual BFA degree from North Dakota State University in Fargo in 2012, where she founded the grassroots community benefit organization, Plants for Patients. Building on the history of ‘craftavism’ and research on nature’s impact in the healing process, Plants for Patients creates an anonymous post-abortion network of support for women through the gift of a ceramic planter and handwritten note from a member of the community. Roberts continues to serve as the Executive Director and primary ceramic artist for the program which has served more than 1,300 women since its humble beginnings as her undergraduate thesis. Roberts attended a short-term artist-invite-artist residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center in 2011 as well as a short-term residency of her own at Red Lodge in 2012. She presented the theory behind the program on a panel at the 2013 National Women’s Studies Association conference, the 2014 Abortion Care Network annual meeting, and is slated to partner with the Plains Art Museum in 2014 as they host the traveling exhibition, Living As Form.

 Meg spends her time away from studio managing Plants for Patients, working at a coffee shop and a women’s health center, and posting photos of her cat to Instagram.

Steven Lemke: The Saint John’s Pottery
Steven Lemke apprenticed for nearly five years with Master Potter Richard Bresnahan at the Saint John’s Pottery. Bresnahan founded the Saint John’s Pottery in 1979 and produces wood-fired pottery using local clay and natural glaze materials. The two artists were recently featured in the apprenticeship documentary and exhibition tour Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire.

Located at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN, the Saint John’s Pottery includes dynamic Artist-in-Residence, Visiting Artist, and Apprenticeship Programs as part of its mission to increase the use of local and natural materials through generational learning. Bresnahan and his studio host annual firings of the Johanna Kiln, the largest wood-burning kiln of its kind in North America.

For more information, please visit<>.]

Of Course there will be representatives from the Green Task Force there as well to talk shop about sustainability.  We look forward to seeing everyone in Milwaukee.