By Naomi Clement

Ever since I started attending NCECA conferences, I have donated a cup to the NCECA Annual Cup Exhibition and Sale. I always enjoy dropping off my cup at the conference, and I look forward to seeing all the fantastic donations from makers around the world. Proceeds from the cup sale support the NCECA Fund for Artistic Development, which provides opportunities for artistic growth through scholarships, as well as residencies and programs including the Regina Brown Undergraduate Fellowship. In 2019 the cup sale generated a record $49,026.85, with a total of 1507 cups donated!!!

As you all know, due to Covid-10, NCECA had to make the very difficult decision to cancel this year’s conference in Richmond, Virginia. This cancellation obviously had huge financial ramifications for NCECA, including lost revenue from the Cup Sale—revenue that goes towards funding artists like you and me.

So, for the 28th anniversary of the NCECA Cup Exhibition and Sale, we are going digital, and we are asking for your help!

The first ever NCECA Virtual Cup Exhibition and Sale will be launched May 21st, when approximately 100 – 150 cups will be uploaded to eBay, and auctioned off to the highest bidder. Depending on the number of cups that are donated, we will be repeating this auction on a monthly basis.

For this first iteration, we are asking for cup and mug donations from ceramic artists living and working in the United States. Have no fear – we hope to do a cup sale specifically with donations from international audiences, the logistics are just a tad more complicated.

Here’s how it works:

To donate a cup: 

  • Photograph your cup or mug using a square format.
  • Upload your photos and submission details here on NCECA’s website. 
  • Promote your submissions and the sale on social media, tagging @NCECA and @nceca_ces , and use the hashtag #NCECACupSale2020 
  • Once your cup has sold, NCECA staff will email you a pre-paid shipping label 
  • Pack and ship your mug to its new owner! Ideally this will take place within 3 weeks of the closing of the auction. 

A note to participating artists: the cup sale is taking place on eBay, and it is an auction. Because of how eBay works, all cups in the auction will have the minimum bid of $0.01. This in no way reflects how NCECA values your work, rather it is how the eBay platform works, and allows for the lowest fee structure. All of which means more money for NCECA scholarships.

To purchase a cup:

  • Visit nceca on and browse the submitted cups
  • Bid on the cup(s) you want to purchase—note cups will be available for auction for 10 days. The highest bid at the close of the auction is the winner.
  • If you are the winning bid, purchase the cup through eBay. 
  • Patiently wait for your new cup to arrive (it is a pandemic after all, and shipping times are a bit longer than normal). 
  • Enjoy your new cup, and share photos of it in action using the hashtag #NCECACupSale2020

The deadline to submit your cup (just one per person please) for our online cup sale is May 19, 11:59pm Eastern Time. For full details on submitting your cup, click here.

And remember, supporting the cup auction, by donating or purchasing a cup, will enable NCECA to sustain vital scholarships, and forward the organization’s mission year-round!