Like Zach Morris in the 90s Television Series Saved by the Bell, I’m going to break character for a moment and speak personally….this is absolutely the number 1 presentation on my list for this conference.  I’ve been excited about this one since the board gathered to review all the programming proposals last May….A panel of giants in the clay world of social media…all with great personalities and beautiful work to boot…wow.  Thank you for indulging my own hero worship moment.  Now back to the facts….Moderator Ben Carter, along with Michael Kline, Carole Epp, Adam Field will be discussing how they use social media and how the quickly changing digital landscape affects our studio practice.  This presentation will be run like a talk show format where Carter will interview the panelists on their experience.   NCECA will be live tweeting from the event (#virtualclay), and questions from the audience, both live and virtual will be accepted via twitter.  Soon after the conference, watch for the podcast and/or video of this session.

CarterBen Image 2 Tales of a Red Clay Rambler Blog and PodcastModerator, Ben Carter, is a ceramic professional based in Santa Cruz, CA. He received his Masters Degree in ceramics from the University of Florida in 2010. He maintains a studio, teaches workshops and exhibits nationally. He is the creator and host of the Tales of a Red Clay Rambler blog and podcast.  Following is a brief excerpt from his article which appears in its entirety in the NCECA Journal:

Is the time you spend rewarded in the short term or long term? As I have gotten more involved with social media I have come to see it as a core part of my career. I spend approximately 35% of my work time on social media. This includes my use of Blogger, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Mail Chimp, and Libsyn. I am willing to invest this much time because it is rewarding. The connections I make with other users help me feel like I am part of a global community of makers.

Thinking about rewards I divide them into long-term and short-term categories. They are not mutually exclusive, but it helps to acknowledge the difference in the way they motivate my use of social media. A short-term reward would be a burst of “likes” that I receive after posting an image on Facebook. A long-term reward would be the personal sense of accomplishment and camaraderie I felt with my fellow bloggers when I reached 100,000 views on my blog. They are both external indicators that viewers are connecting with the style and content of my communication.

Adam-3Born and raised in Colorado, panelist Adam Field, earned his BA in Art from Fort Lewis College. For two years he immersed himself in the culturally rich art scene of the San Francisco bay area, where he began his full time studio practice. From there, he relocated to Maui, where he established a thriving studio business. He spent most of 2008 in Icheon, South Korea, studying traditional Korean pottery making techniques under 6th generation Onggi master Kim Ill Mahn. In 2013 he created and debuted HIDE-N-SEEKAH at the NCECA conference in Houston, TX. After maintaining his studio in Durango, CO for 5 years, Adam recently moved to Helena, MT where he is currently a long-term artist in residence at The Archie Bray Foundation. His works are included in private collections and kitchen cabinets internationally.  Following is a brief excerpt from his article which appears in its entirety in the NCECA Journal:

New photo editing and image sharing apps like Instagram made it possible for me to connect with other image-makers and clay workers while fostering the photographic dialogue I had learned to love as a child.  Instagram became my sketchbook with a window to the world, an easy way to gather and share my visual inspirations as they struck me.  Unlike a sketchbook, the social aspect of Instagram informed and inspired my studio practice by providing welcome feedback on my posts and a continuous stream of fresh imagery from others.  While Instagram had proven to be an ideal platform for creatively sharing and gathering images and ideas, it was lacking a large clay community.  In an effort to encourage more participation from clay artists I created and debuted an interactive Instagram scavenger hunt called HIDE-N-SEEKAH around the 2013 NCECA conference in Houston, TX.  The project was a success and participating artists gained an average of 500 followers to their Instagram feeds.  The population of clay people on Instagram had grown considerably, invigorating the virtual exchange of information.

kline_jug_barnwell_editMichael Kline received his BFA from the University of TN-Knoxville in 1986 and maintains a studio near the Penland School in Bakersville, NC. Michael leads workshops in pottery and social media and exhibits nationally and writes about his life as a potter with children at  Following is a brief excerpt from his article which appears in its entirety in the NCECA Journal:

Like a magpie, I am attracted to the shiny objects and innovations of technology. This is probably one of the reasons I was so eager to join the online bandwagon and start a blog, albeit late compared to true early adopters. In 2007 I set out to communicate to the masses through my blog, Sawdust and Dirt. Surprisingly, to me, using this online platform didn’t connect me to the market as I’d hoped. You see, the blog turned out to be a great vehicle to connect with fellow potters but not necessarily with buyers and collectors of pots. While potters are certainly also buyers of pots, my intentions with the blog were to reach a larger civilian audience. As other shiny objects came along in the form of diverse social media platforms, some of these non-potter folks came closer and took notice as I built my following on Facebook and Instagram.


Panelist, Carole Epp, is a ceramic artist based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She received her Masters Degree in Ceramics from the Australian National University in 2005 and has maintained a full time studio practice since.  Her ceramics branch off into two distinct bodies of work wherein she produces lines of sculptural and functional objects. Due to a desire to expose her own demons as well as to investigate the social and political dysfunction of contemporary society, Epp creates figurative sculpture that presents humanity through a subversion of our utopic projections of ourselves. Her work juxtaposes religious iconography with news headlines, pop culture with nostalgic kitsch, all through the subversion of the traditional genre of the collectible figurine.  Her functional work on the other hand shows a softer side of childhood. She creates a line of illustrative dishes that portray sweet and whimsical narratives intended to inspire young and old.  She has exhibited throughout Canada; in Australia, Scotland and the United States. Her artwork and writing has been published in magazine publications, websites and books. She is editor of Musing About Mud an online blog that showcases information, calls for entry, exhibitions and artist profiles related to the ceramic arts.  Following is a brief excerpt from his article which appears in its entirety in the NCECA Journal:

Over the last nine years my studio practice and my online presence has evolved to incorporate my blog Musing about Mud, personal and professional Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts, Etsy shops, online craft-based memberships such as Crafthaus among others, and inclusion in various online curated galleries. The division of my work hours is now such that my studio time and my online time are likely equivalent.  I research, sketch, develop ideas, and receive feedback online. It’s a process with similarities to the research I did as an MFA graduate student at the Australian National University – a research based institution; but I now maintain a similar quality of research and investigation through online platforms Can you really learn that much through something like twitter? Absolutely, there is qualitative research to be found. We just sometimes have to filter through some cat pictures along the way.