Hello NCECA Members,

I wanted to share with you my excitement about the 2016 NCECA Conference, in particular Topical Discussions and NCECA Connections. This year our Topical Discussions and NCECA Connections will help to kickstart the conference and will all be held on Wednesday. This will ensure that conferences goers will be able to engage in the robust conversation NCECA offers right from the start! This year we have a total of 12 accepted proposals and we invited the presenters to write a brief blog post about what their Topical Discussions and NCECA Connections are about. Today’s post comes from Tom Supensky and his Topical Discussions titled “Who Are You.”

Who Am I?  If we work in clay, we probably have chosen a specific aspect of the ceramic world.  Are we potter’s, ceramists, clay sculptors, artists, or what?  Have titles been a problem, caused misunderstandings, or had a negative effect on what you do?  Have you been stereotyped?  How does your involvement with clay relate to other art media?  Do we agree with the 1962 edition of Art in the Western World by Robb and Garrison that anything made useful (utilitarian) is a minor art?  I have often been called a potter.  Does that degrade my status in the art world?  I prefer to be called a clay sculptor as I do not make anything utilitarian.  What do you think of the following definition of pottery?  A form of pseudo-utilitarian ceramics in 21st century high tech societies.  A ritual performed by certain romantics and other misguided dreamers of the folk art world producing a variety of quasi-functional wares in clay that mimics items produced in other more suitable materials.  An acceptable and germane product only before the advent of industrial and technological developments visa vie the computer and mass consumption.  I disagree.  How do you define what you do?  Definitions take understanding only so far.  The rest is left to the interpreter.  The problem is expanded when it comes to the arts because art has no clear definition.  Let’s talk about it.