Tongue-in-cheek sculptures, contemplative video installations, gently pinched pouring vessels, and meticulously assembled baskets – frankly, the offerings from the student population at this year’s NSJE are as surprising as they are wide-ranging in scope.  330 students submitted 1000 images for consideration, and the jurors, Liz Quackenbush and Lee Somers, contemplated every single image over three rounds of elimination.  They made a decision early on to jury blindly, insisting on excellence over balanced representation and yet, perhaps unsurprisingly, each student category has a strong showing.

I haven’t seen the work yet in person, but I am very excited to see how the Leedy Voulkos Center has arranged everything when I meet with Liz Quackenbush and Lee Somers on-site to view the work one last time before determining awards.   Fortunately, I did have some spies in the area who managed to get some pictures of the opening reception at the Leedy Voulkos Art Center for First Fridays.  The installation of the artwork is exceptional!  Congratulations to everyone, and I look forward to meeting you at the official NCECA reception on

Thursday, Mar 17, 6-8pm!


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About the Jurors:

Liz Quackenbush is Professor of Art at Pennsylvania State University. BFA, University of Colorado,
Boulder; MFA, The School for American Craftsmen at Rochester Institute for Technology. Liz has been
seduced by the exotic nature of Morocco where she has returned four times. Having participated in the
Minnesota Pottery Tour for the past 13 consecutive years, she has learned about the value of pottery and
community. Liz’s commitment to making functional pottery has led to innovative course development
focusing on the ability for functional pottery and delicious food to build culture. Selected engagements:
University of Nebraska, University of Colorado, Cleveland Art Institute, Virginia Commonwealth
University, Chicago Art Institute, Cranbrook.

Lee Somers hails from the Southwest; his formative years spent exploring the mountains and deserts. A traveler,
Lee draws inspiration from experiences living, working, and wandering in a variety of locations. Fascinated with
ceramics since childhood, he earned both his undergraduate and graduate degree in the field at Alfred University
School of Art and Design. Lee has been teaching college level art since 2006, including three years in Beijing
at the China Central Academy of Fine Art. He currently teaches 3D Design at the University of Montevallo
in Montevallo, Alabama. His work in ceramics and mixed-media investigates the landscape as an intersection
of natural and cultural history. Lee’s studio practice incorporates a variety of materials and processes, with
experimentation and chance playing an active role. Most recently, his work was featured in a solo exhibition at
the Jane Hartsook Gallery, Greenwich House Pottery, NY, and in the annual Art in Craft Media exhibition at the
Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

Note from Cindy – Yes, I’m the spy…with a couple of my mini spies who are seen in the pictures.  It’s a BEAUTIFUL show!