I continue to be heartwarmed by the number of people volunteering their time and talents to help NCECA and its entire membership to find ways to realize all of the hard work that has gone into this conference through digital means.  Many people have filled out the volunteer interest form Many other people have contacted me directly with ideas.  I have seen and heard about a lot of people who are saying “is NCECA doing this”. First, let me remind you that NCECA is all of us.  (unbidden, i keep hearing a song from what i think was High School Musical, or some similar teenie-bopper movie from when my oldest was a tween “we’re all in this together….once we know that we are we’re all stars and we see that….🎶)

I understand that it is helpful to know what is happening so that you can join groups working on things you are passionate, or just so you have the piece of mind to know something is in the works.  I will try to write daily updates of what I know about so that you can all stay as informed as possible.

Here is the update of project and ideas as of 10am central Friday, March 13th:

Online Cup Sale – we are putting together a team to determine how to facilitate this project, the critical parts of this that will need to be figured out range from 1. getting the message out to typical/potential donors of cups, 2. getting images of those cups, 3. posting them online, 4. SELLING them online 5. NCECA staff appropriation of time to manage the website and sale aspect 6. Shipping of work from seller to recipient, and so on….  Other fundraising ideas have also been floating about, and those will need some development as well.

Exhibitions online – i have had a few people mention either being local or close enough or willing to travel to Richmond to document all the shows that are up in Richmond and post online with opportunity to purchase the work.  This has all of the same concerns as the online cup sale, but also the aspect of filming, hosting, producing the videos and so on.  I will be working today to connect the interested people together for this.  I mentioned yesterday the pinterest board idea from Austyn Taylor, which still needs some development and planning.   I feel like approaching this from a few directions and then finding how to connect the ideas is the best course of action.

Resource Hall online – Commercial exhibitors, Non-profits and Galleries are all small businesses in some way and they, too, will be hurting from the effects of Covid-19.  We are trying to determine how to in some way create a Resource Hall experience.  Many of the commercial exhibitors would be introducing new products, or having special show pricing for things, and so on.  Many attendees use the conference as their opportunity to talk directly to the manufacturers of their equipment, or are making decisions on equipment to buy, or stocking up on tools and supplies they can’t get from their regular local supplier. etc.   Universities use the conference to meet potential students, and the reverse.  Non-profit ceramic organizations have the opportunity to talk about their work and find new people and ideas to bring in to their work force.  The Gallery Expo not only sells beautiful pottery to attendees, it also highlights many makers through the gallery talks they have in their spaces.  ALL of these places spent a lot of time, energy and money planning for Richmond.  The Resource Hall is also a personal passion of mine, which is probably why I got a little verbose here.

Social connections – One of the biggest intangible benefits of the conference is our social connection.  (Often, this happens in the resource hall….you better believe i’m trying to figure out how to work that into the project above, btw). One of the most BEAUTIFUL ideas I heard about came from our brilliant Director-at-Large, Julia Galloway.  She is working to collect 30-60 second videos of people talking about what their favorite things are at the conference and share them on the NCECA instagram account.  While we were talking, i thought it would be a great thing to do by building a network across the country via local clay suppliers, arts centers etc.  Anywhere that clay folk can still safely travel to.  Many suppliers have their own instagram and could possibly record customers who come in to buy clay (before they hunker down into self quarantine?) and post on their own instagram and tag NCECA.  maybe we need a hashtag for this…?  I also heard a request to get some version of the student mentor room up online. There are other ideas floating around here as well.

Conference Presentations – a WIDE range of ideas exist about how to manage the many prepared presentations that would have been given at the conference.  There is discussion of pushing some to 2021, including consideration of the feasibility of adding a day to the conference to allow for this.  Presentations recorded and posted online, presentations live streamed via zoom, twitch, facebook live, instagram TV and a variety of other possible platforms, or some combination of the recorded presentation with a live Q&A, pretty much you name it, it’s being considered.  The group working on this will need to determine some parameters regarding what goes where, when and most importantly, how.

Teaching/educational/sharable resources online and other opportunities – There are a bunch of members or groups of members that are making resources available to those in need.  This ranges from Studio Potter’s free 3-month subscription for teachers that have had to move to online teaching to Ceramic Materials Workshop’s online glaze courses, or organizations hosting some version of an online conference such as the Facebook group Clay Buddies or Clay Share’s clay-con.  I also want to mention Carole Epp and her website, Musing about Mud, which has a history of being a really thorough index of ceramic opportunities.  I don’t exactly know how she hunts everything up and posts it.

I probably missed some things, which i will likely remember two seconds after I click “publish,” but this is a lot of information, and hopefully not so much that it gets a TL;DR.


3.17 edit: the previously created form for interest has now been closed.  Opportunities to help may still be available.  If you want to be involved, please email office@nceca.net