It’s hard to overstate the importance of Topical Discussions and NCECA Connections when it comes to NCECA’s programming. You’ve probably attended one of these sessions, and you might not even know it. For the uninitiated, Topical Discussions are an opportunity for members to put on small, informal seminars about things they are passionate about.  Thursday afternoon, from 5:15-6:15 on, you have the opportunity to participate in any one of these twelve discussions :

Ballroom A: Electric Kiln Maintenance By Arnold Howard

This session includes electric kiln diagnostics, the Kiln Sitter, and digital kiln theory of operation. Learn to do basic kiln repairs yourself. The information in this discussion applies to all brands of electric kilns. Feel free to bring questions.

Ballroom B: Transitions  By NCECA Emerging Artists – Zimra Beiner, Renee Brown, Mel Griffin, Lauren Mabry, David Peters, Adam Shiverdecker

Developing a career in the ceramic arts involves many different transitions. Join this year’s emerging artists in a discussion about what comes next. How does one decide when the time is right for grad school, residencies, teaching, day jobs, left turns in the studio… or becoming a full-time artist?

Ballroom C: Show Me the Money By Heather Bren and Christian Novak

Applying for and actually receiving funding is itself a craft. This discussion will focus on strategies for successful artist grant funding. The application and selection processes will be explored, in an effort to provide a better understanding of the nuances of these processes and, hopefully, to garner stronger applications.

Ballroom C: Using a Die Cutter for Ceramics By Linda Arbuckle

Casual shop-talk group for people investigating the use of a digital die cutter for ceramics (stencils, decal shapes, fun foam for relief). Die cutters have migrated from an expensive professional tool to home versions for hobby scrapbookers. Clay people are discovering this tool for cutting stencils, shapes from solid decal or luster sheets, or fun foam to make low relief on soft slabs. The learning curve is significant, so this group is meant to present and share information for those interested in this tool.

Ballroom C: Mindfulness in Making By Dennise Gackstetter

Mindfulness is intentionally cultivated awareness; a conscious attentiveness to the fullness of each moment.  Bringing mindfulness to the process of making enhances our overall experience. In this session we will share and explore ways to develop and foster this deep state of presence in our studio practices.

Ballroom D: Immaterial World By Sara Parent-Ramos

Die cutters have migrated from an expensive professional tool to home versions for hobby scrapbookers. Clay people are discovering this tool for cutting stencils, shapes from solid decal or luster sheets, or fun foam to make low relief on soft slabs. The learning curve is significant, so this group is meant to present and share information for those interested in this tool.

Ballroom D: Ornamentation in the Material World By Brent Pafford

This exchange focuses on the ways artists use form, material, and technique to create order and establish relationships within their work. What role will ornament play with the resurgent popularity of embellishment in contemporary ceramics?

Ballroom D: The Figure In, On, or Of Clay By Laura O’Donnell

The figure in, on, or of clay is an expression of both its subject matter and its physical medium. The past decade has witnessed a proliferation of ceramic artists using the figure. What do they say about contemporary society? Come discuss why the human form has remained such a fascinating subject and concept for thousands of years in ceramic art.

102 A-C: Time Management By Jackie Battenfield

How can we work smarter rather than harder? Many of us juggle an overflowing schedule of teaching, studio work, art business tasks, professional activities, and a diminished personal life. This session will discuss ways to better manage our life to establish schedules that protect peak creative times.

102 A-C: Nomadic Artists: Urban Residencies in Ceramics By Mimi McPartlan, Chase Folsom, Laura Ashley, Joe Kraft

The panel consists of four resident artists; Mimi McPartlan, Chase Folsom, and Laura Ashley, from The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA, and Joe Kraft from the Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, IL. Each presenter will provide candid thoughts on moving his/her studio practice to an urban situation.

203 C-E: Teaching 2D and 3D Design for Clay Folk By Paul Wandless

Many Ceramic Artists teach Foundation courses This session will cover syllabi, lesson plans, materials, projects and assessment for 2D and 3D Design. The goal is to have an exchange of ideas, tips and advice.

203 C-E: The Ceramic Locavore By Luke Sheets

Using local materials is an excellent way to help your work stand out from mass-produced objects and mass-produced clay bodies. I will discuss my process for procuring clays, my development of working clay bodies and glazes, and the benefits and drawbacks I have experienced working with local raw materials.

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