The best part about NCECA, for me as a first-time attender, was not all the ceramic work, people, and presentations that I knew I would see. All of those things were good. But the best part was the surprises. Most of those surprises came to me while looking through the many exhibitions. I often found myself thinking, “This is a great. I can’t believe that I love this.” The question that follows, always, is “Why?” Why is this exceptional? Answering that question can also be a surprise.
The other big surprise was one of the student presentations. I was blown away by Raheleh Filsoofi’s exceptional Student Perspective Lecture, Clay as a RecordKeeper of Iranian Cultural Heritage. Filsoofi presented some of the best of historical Iranian ceramic tile work, the story of the remarkable symbolic importance of this work to Iranian women, and images of her own work. Filsoofi’s polychromatic geometric tiles were informed by this depth of experience; rich and varied imagery combined with a complex human story. It was history at its best; completely alive, still growing and full of passion. I hope that there is more from this artist, and more of this story, shared more widely.