Does looking at all of the awe-inspiring pottery, sculpture, and installation art at NCECA just make your hands crave the touch of clay? If so, one exhibition you shouldn’t miss this year is Projects Space! This year’s artists will all be working with wet clay, and two of the projects are interactive. If you need to get dirty, we’ve got you covered.

If you aren’t familiar with Projects Space, it is a venue that features experimental, performative, and time-based installations. The artists work onsite to develop their projects over the span of the conference. Each time you walk by Projects Space, you will notice that the work has shifted, changed, or expanded. While some artists create interactive experiences that involve the viewer, others take a more meditative approach in the building and assembling of their work. Either way, the artists will be present for the duration of the conference, and the audience is invited to observe and interact with the artists.

Glenda Mural 2

Design for Mural

Thematically, each piece addresses the conference theme in some way. In the Glenda Taylor Active Memorial Mural by Alexis Gregg and Tanner Coleman, participants will be invited to contribute to a mural honoring Glenda Taylor, a generous spirit, talented maker, and mentor whose life was cut short last summer. Besides being a respected ceramic artist and educator, Glenda was an avid cyclist. The mural will incorporate abstracted landscape imagery inspired by Glenda’s home state of Kansas, and participants will be invited to make their mark with text and bicycle-themed texture. The finished mural will be permanently installed on the campus of Washburn University.

Through his large-scale sculpture and installation, En Iwamura investigates the relationships between people and places and the ever-shifting perception of comfortable space between them. In his Projects Space proposal, En humorously describes himself as “human scale ant.” With insect-like determination, En will be marking milestones hour by hour in wet clay as he coils organic, architectural forms. As each layer of clay appears, it will create records of different moments as he works and responds to both the space and the material. The audience can watch En’s large wet clay installation meditatively unfold for the duration of the conference.

Lastly, Brian Kluge will create an ephemeral installation that allows the audience to create work of art in homage to influential makers and mentors in their own lives. I recently got this enthusiastic message from Brian about his project:

“Although the Project Space installation may not be the largest [in] physical scale that I’ve attempted, it will certainly have the largest number of participants and the most specific audience. As a result I’ve been thinking about the potential for this sculpture to make evident some of the connections between us makers. These connections can oftentimes go unnoticed. I am excited to see what emerges as participants add to the project by making small sculptures and placing them upon the unfired clay tile. I can’t wait!”

Check out the artists’ work and news on their websites: