25th Anniversary Interview: Janet Williams

How did you get involved with NCC?
I was living in Nebraska and NCC was the biggest regional ceramics center. I applied and participated in a show with Steve Thurston in 1997. But, I was introduced to NCC through Deborah Sigel around 1995, at which time I applied for a show. That is back when NCC was in the old building. And then, of course, I came back in 2003 to do the McKnight Fellowship and again in 2012.

What was the most gratifying thing that happened? 
On a personal level, just being able to create a body of work. That is the joy of being in the studio 24/7. But a lot of it was the environment, atmosphere, and experience of being there. There is always so much going on with visiting artists, lectures, and being part of the community.

What’s different now from when you first got involved? 
Well, it’s grown and is attracting or expanding its operations in many ways, and is attracting a much larger audience than when I first visited NCC. It now has not only a regional reputation, but also a national and international reputation. It’s amazing when an organization can continue to grow and expand for such a long amount of time. 

Any funny stories?
Being in the studios in the heat of the very hot summer of 2012, when we were wearing wet towels around our necks to keep cool and then firing the soda kiln—it must have been 110+F in the kiln room. Phew!