I love the show “How I Met Your Mother”, and in it, one of the characters (Ted, an architect) will often announce a “fun fact” before saying something he finds terribly interesting about a building. Other architects would also find these facts amusing, but of course, none of his friends are architects, so they all tease him about it. But, fortunately almost all of my friends are part of my clay family. So, I thought that there might be some “Fun Facts” about NCECA and the world of clay that others from the ceramics industry would find interesting.
Recently, I’ve been researching the beginnings of our organization. In poking around on the NCECA website, I found a fascinating document about the first 25 years of our organization. I started to skim the document and soon found myself engrossed in reading the story of how we began. I came to a section on the 1971 conference in Toronto and laughed out loud when I read the following:
NCECA had its largest attendance to date at the 1971 Conference in Toronto, Canada at which 500 people registered. The number would have been greater had the Canadian Border Guards been more cooperative in allowing long haired potters to cross the border without asking some of them to post a $100 security bond.
My dad was one of the 500 long-haired potters to be allowed across the border. He was teaching at Purdue University then, and had become good friends with Richard Peeler, who was president of NCECA at that time. Dad became a member of NCECA at that conference, and I believe that he never let his membership lapse until he died in 1993. I grew up hearing stories of that and many other NCECA conferences from him.
The next year, 1972, in Gatlinburg, TN would be my older sister’s first NCECA. She was about 3 weeks old, so I don’t think she remembers much, but she loves to point out that it wasn’t until I was 19 that I would attend an NCECA.
At this past conference in Houston, which marked my 13th NCECA (and i just HAVE to point out, it was only my sister’s 12th, I think), I was fortunate enough to be able to interview dozens of NCECA members about their own experiences with the organization, and I was moved by the many stories I heard, in many cases, moved to tears, even. So I’d like to invite you all to share your own stories and experiences…your NCECA memories. Either leave a comment here, or if you prefer, send me an email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.