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nceca bashing.......

updated mon 31 jan 00


Jonathan Kaplan on sun 30 jan 00

Along with trying to define what is a master potter, the current NCECA
bashing by some on the list is just another example of useless whining, so
prevelant among potters. So I guess I'll step on someone's feet here.......

You want to call yourself a master potter, be my guest. I don't care. It
really doesn't matter. I know some who think they are and have egos to
boot. Again, I don't care. For myself, I would be quite uneasy with that
role and would not call myself a master potter. Its another useless waste
of time and energy,

Studio potters have been quite active in NCECA. even in the old days of
Supermud. While I would agree that educators have a large role in the
organization, those of us in the studio area have played a major
contribution. Not to push my own agenda, but at NCECA Rochester, I was on
a panel with both educators and studio potters concerning the interface
between the ceramic industry and the ceramic community. Last year in
Denver, Richard Epler(from the industry side) and myself were the glaze
doctors. In Denver, I will be hosting a breakout session on on assisted
technology. Also this year in Denver, Steven Hill is a glaze doctor and Jim
Cooper is one of the kiln doctors. Marcia Selsor, an educator and potter is
conducting a panel on "some answers to Cardew". Ron Roy has been a glaze
doctor. So has Angela Fina. And I would posit that perhaps going deeper
into past conferences, there are studio potters like you and me
participating on that level. So why the complaining?

For a number of years I sent in proposals for panel discussions and was
rejected. Big deal. Its like an art fair. Some years you are in, and some
you are not. If you have a particular point of view, keep trying, get
yourself elected to the board, push your own agenda, and stop whining.

I suffered from this academic bias for years. And yes, I think that there
is a marked difference in the goals of academic clay and that of studio
potters. But who cares? Why occupy your valuable time with such wasteful
energy? If NCECA doesn't fit with your agenda, go to CermaTech. Talk shop
all you wish. Live, breathe, eat and sleep pottery. I would agree with Tony
Clenell, if its a vacation, the last thing I need to do is be around
potters. I'd rather work on my tan at the beach.

Do I think that there would be value in an organization that is
specificially devoted to the needs of studio potters? Sure. But that focus
is particularly narrow and boring most of the time. Sure I like talkng
shop, but after 30 minutes or so there is other stuff to do.

I have been fortunate. I have been involved with NCECA on a small level
and, sure, I see its shortcomings. But I also see it as a place to get
together with potters, academics, educators, curators, collectors, etc.,
all sharing the same passion for working in clay. You can interface with
your suppliers, meet new friends, hang out in the ClayArt room, and party
as long as you wish. You can get enough posters to plaster all the walls in
your studio, chat with Soldner and watch him hold court, so to speak. And
yes, it costs money. Potters always have such a cheap, always hungry, point
of view. Not that I am wealthy. But my wealth of knowledge, experience, and
interfacing is increased at each conference.

Will going to NCECA further your business career as a studio potter?
Probably not, But I would not be the first to point out that you might
learn some valuable skills, meet a few people who have ideas that could
help you with your work, and touch base and see what is going on in our



Jonathan Kaplan
Ceramic Design Group
PO Box 775112
Steamboat Springs CO 80477
voice and fax 970 879-9139