NCECA’s 2020 partners for Artist in Residence are the Medalta in the Historic Clay District of Medicine Hat in Alberta, Canada and C.R.E.T.A Rome, Italy
Ashley Bevington participated in a residency partnership between Medalta and NCECA and shared her experience:
“I grew so much during my residency at Medalta Potteries for the NCECA International Artist In Residence Program. This was my first time travelling outside of the U.S. as well as my first time flying alone. I was so nervous. I was scared I’d get lost or miss one of my flights or have trouble with security scanning my luggage full of pottery tools and underglazes. But everything went smoothly. Medicine Hat, Alberta is beautiful. There were always deer walking through the streets during my bicycle commute to the studio. The other residents and staff at Medalta were very welcoming and knowledgeable. The facilities were well equipped and clean, and there were scenic views surrounding the property. It was a dream. The weekend that I arrived in Medicine Hat was Canada Day weekend. So we ended up having a wood fired pizza party. This also meant that the pottery supply was closed, so I couldn’t get materials yet, but it was good to get to know the other residents. There were fireworks, Canadian flags, beer, and food. It was just like the 4th of July back home. This made me feel welcome, and it really sunk in that humans are humans. We are all just looking for an excuse to cook a bunch of food and drink beer together! The morning after the festivities I walked in to my studio to find an anonymous bag of clay left for me to get started, and so it began!
While exploring Medalta I couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming energy of all of the dedicated clay artists who have roamed the facilities, I guess the portrait wall of past residents really helped, too. This was the perfect transition from grad school to the real world for me. I was forced to face my fears and became confident with myself and my work. During school I didn’t really focus too much on making pots. I was more sculptural. My time at Medalta gave me the freedom of a clean slate. I didn’t know anyone, and they didn’t know me. I could do whatever I wanted without pressures of previous work or cohesiveness. I used this time to make a few pieces that were in the back of my mind, push my pottery, and try the shigaraki technique. I tried a very white translucent porcelain because I knew I was getting reimbursed for materials thanks to NCECA, and I would never normally spend as much as I did on a box of clay. I ended up loving that clay and now make pots exclusively with porcelain. Seeing the efficiency of the old pottery factory got me thinking about efficiency in my own work. I am a hand builder and my process is slow and involved. To speed things up a bit, I made various sized press molds of the parts that frequent my pots. This is just one of those seemingly simple ideas that once you think of you wonder how you hadn’t thought of sooner. I got my process down with cups and mugs, so I started making other forms such as vases and teapots. I think it was just the atmosphere and the history of the factory fueling my desire to push my pots. Questions began to arise in my mind as to what a pot could really be. The residency at Medlata helped me find myself and gave me the confidence to keep pushing along with my work. I will no longer be afraid of applying to new opportunities or traveling alone.”
Apply directly to Medalta, application deadline February 19
For more information visit the Medalta website: https://medalta.org/creativity/miair/
Or the NCECA website: https://nceca.net/nceca-calls-and-exhibitions/international-residency-partner-programs/