Posted by Jay Lacouture

The very idea of NCECA was spawn from a notion that Ted Randall brought to the a subcommittee of The American Ceramic Society in the early 1960s to, “set up a forum for the immediate face to face exchange of thoughts and feelings about ceramic teaching and making.”  This idea of Ted’s has served as a guiding principle for our organization. He wrote the original charter and by laws for NCECA and led the New York State College of Ceramics @ Alfred into a phase of unpatrolled growth and prominence in the field.

Ted was a true renaissance man with degrees from Yale and Alfred, with a background as a ceramic equipment designer and manufacturer, as an arts administrator and as an artist. In 1989 at the Kansas City NCECA the Board initiated a program session in Ted’s honor, “The Randall Session.” The Conference program stated, “ The uniqueness of Ted’s contribution to ceramic art was, in large measure, the result of an extra sharp intelligence focused, not on narrow issues of ceramics alone, but on broader questions of aesthetics and philosophy, particularly the inquiries of mankind into the nature of knowledge and meaning. Therefore, it seems appropriate to recognize and honor the major contribution that Ted Randall made to American ceramic art and especially to NCECA at the annual Randall Session which focuses on ideas that expand on Ted’s own broad interests.”

At this inaugural session Victor Babu gave a moving tribute to his mentor and we heard a recording of Ted’s voice discussing some of the beautiful ceramic objects in the Nelson Atkins Museum. We sat in Unitarian Church and listened to two Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano. It was a very introspective and spiritual moment separated from the usual hustle of an NCECA Conference.

This year in Milwaukee will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Randall Session.

Since that time in KC we have listened to poets, storytellers, artists, activists, musicians and the like as they have brought their talent and intellect to our membership, just like Ted did, in an effort to celebrate the creative spirit. Celebrate Ted Randall, celebrate creativity, celebrate NCECA….

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This year’s Randall Session, Leslie & The Ly’s Live: Dance Blaster 1,000 will feature Leslie Hall, who first became an internet sensation when she uploaded pictures of her gem sweater collection online. After quickly attracting over 2 million hits, she was left with an $800 bill for exceeding bandwidth. In order to pay back her mother, Leslie did what any 200 lb plus Iowan girl would do, she became a lady rapper. Since then, Hall has toured relentlessly with Leslie and the LY’s, self-released 5 full-length albums, and produced such viral video hits as Gold Pants, Zombie Killer, How We Go Out, Blame the Booty, and Tight Pants/Body Rolls. The band’s ever-evolving live show features elaborate props, flashy costumes, and Las Vegas style production at Midwest prices. You will squeal with delight when Leslie tumbles and triumphs across the stage.

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