Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director

I distinctly remember the moment I met Marge Levy.  It was 2010, and I was at my very first board meeting, while she was a seasoned vet in the NCECA organization, having already served a full term as President before returning to the board to take on the role of onsite liaison for the Seattle conference.  I really can’t think of a more perfect person to close our Makers, Mentors, and Milestones conference.  Marge has been a mentor to so many members of our organization.  Marge served NCECA first as a Liaison to the council from 1974-1977. She was NCECA’s treasuer from 1978-81, until she became the organization’s first woman to be elected to the Presidency and began her five year term cycling through the positions of President-Elect, President and Past-President.

But Marge has been a legend to me for reasons beyond NCECA.  From 1969-1985, Marge was a professor of ceramics at Purdue University.  It just so happened that my dad was there from 1969-1975, and during their time there together, they became good friends.  I therefore grew up hearing stories about Marge.  When I walked into that first board meeting, Marge looked right at me and said “Hello Cindy.”  (It seems I look just a teeny bit like my dad) I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time with Marge, hearing stories about both my dad and the early days of NCECA, with a bonus schooling in the art of words with friends.  I can’t even begin to recount the things I learned from Marge.  While I never look forward to the end of any NCECA conference, I simply can’t imagine a better person to bring everything together.  She is wise and experienced, yet relatable and youthful.  She’s an incredible storyteller…absolutely captivating to listen to, she could probably make a speech on how washing machines have changed over time positively enthralling.

Your dictionary will NOT be complete without the experience of Marge’s closing lecture.  You are sure to learn something while being entertained, and maybe even hear a couple of good gritty old boyfriend meets new boyfriend moments…who knows.   But it’s sure to be a wild ride.

In NCECA’s 50th year, I celebrate 60 years working in clay. How did that happen? And why? “To be successful, the first thing is to fall in love with your work.” – Sister Mary Lauretta. Clay and teaching won me over early…the people and the material. “I’ve always tried to go a step past wherever other people expected me to end up.” – Beverly Sills. And I never really knew where I was going but NCECA was a constant and an adventure; the community, the art, the pots, the fires, the finances, the possibilities. ‘Taking risks gives me energy.’ – Jay Chiat. It always did and still does. Today, I Keep On Keeping On… KOKO…and of course, “When in doubt wear red.” – Bill Blass.

Pretty sure I’ll be wearing red.  See you all there!

Categories: 2016 Conference, Featured

3 Responses so far.

  1. I met Marge around 1967when I was a student with her at the Philadelphia College of Art. She was somehow there from Penn State. She threw pots. Bill Daley didn’t really like throwing although we did get him to demonstrate once with great emphasis on the tongue out the side of his mouth and no breathing when pulling up. Marge was a great asset to have working in the studio. I learned so much from her. She even taught us about tearing down the door of the salt kiln at ^10 to get bright colors and rebuilding it to cool . She was adventurous and got many of us to follow her lead. I ran into her again at my first NCECA in Wisconsin in 1974. More stories there too. Marge leading “keep on keepin’on” in NCECA Seattle shows us all she is definitely keeping’ on.

  2. Living and teaching on the East Coast, I always drove to Super Mud at Penn State. I first went to NCECA in ’75 at Philadelphia, then ’79 because NCECA and Super Mud were combined, plus I could drive. Then, after not attending NCECA for a while, I decided to go to the San Jose conference in 1982 to visit former teachers, Otto & Vivika Heino, which I did. That is when I first met Marge Levy. She was inspirational. I’ve continued to attend consistently since that time. Last year I believed that Jack Troy would be an impossible act to follow with his magnificent and entertaining close, but with Marge Levy presenting the closing lecture for our 50th conference, I know she will knock our socks off. Get ready. Roberta Griffith, NCECA DAL ’84-’86

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