Director's report: Summer 2015

While this issue of the newsletter was in its infant stages of construction, half of NCC’s staff were a thousand miles away from our desks and computers, as we joined 5,000 of our closest clay friends at the 49th Annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference (NCECA), in Providence, Rhode Island. Far away from the walls of the Clay Center and the day-to-day demands of programming, eight hardworking individuals recreated a miniature replica of the NCC sales gallery—staged with pedestals, shelves, and pots galore—and worked tirelessly over a four-day period to sell, sell, sell pots to collectors, makers, teachers, and students in what can only be described as a madhouse of activity.

This annual convening of thinkers, makers, buyers, teachers, learners—and a whole lot of people who are a little bit of each—continues to be a highlight for me as director of Northern Clay Center and a long-time member of the ceramics community.

For those of you who have not yet experienced NCECA, but have visited NCC in the midst of the American Pottery Festival, you have some inkling of the scale and frenetic energy of the NCECA conference—times 10! Somewhere in between all of the networking, book and pottery and tool buying, workshop watching, and wheeling and dealing with kiln builders and shelf makers, the sweet spot of the clay world can be found—in the people and in the clay wares. This single event somehow harnesses enough creative and positive energy to fuel many of us clay heads for an entire year (while simultaneously exhausting us). How does NCECA do this? We likely each have a different answer to this question.

For me, it’s the love of the craft and the community. While I was too busy “living NCECA” to post my entire experience on various social media outlets (or, maybe its my age), in hindsight, my hashtags would read something along the lines of:

#thatgenuinebutterfliesinthebellyeverytimeipickupapotbyabelovedpotterfeeling
#donthaveanyroominmypantryforanothercupsoiboughtacandlestickinstead
#OMGdidujustseeSamChungwalkbyIluvhiswork
#cantbelieveigot2seeallmyfaveformervisitingartistsinthespanof2hours
#wowcantbelieveijustsoldanotherTedSaupecuptoanundergrad
#whereelsewillufind20yroldsdropping$100oftheirhardearned$$tobuypots
#blownawaybythetalentintheK-12exhibition

For those of you who had the joy of attending the conference or following attendees’ experiences on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, you know what I’m talking about here. For the rest of you, the accompanying photos will have to suffice.

I’m already counting the days until next year’s event, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the NCECA conference, to be held in Kansas City, Missouri. For now, I’m sure I share this sentiment with countless others: #lovinthisfieldimin.

 

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