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nceca - it just keeps getting better!

updated fri 31 mar 00


Carla Flati on thu 30 mar 00

I've got two things to say, well, more like two hundred things, but I'll
most of you have heard by now, the Tool Doctors presentation was a great
success, but what impressed me the most was Vince Pitelka! What a natural
speaker he is. He talks like he writes....very clear, very precise and very
thorough. It turns out that a few of the things I've made in the past using
Vince's cyber instructions actually look like they're suppose to! David
Hendley's presentation was a real joy, and what a nice guy he is. He's got
a great sense of humor and clay isn't the only thing he works wonders with.
David built himself one great house and I also think he's got a lumber
fetish. Our beloved previous Clayarter, Jack Troy, showed us how to make
those deer tail brushes he had explained via Clayart years ago. Now I know
why my brush ended up stinking so badly I had to throw it out. I left the
skin on! What a putz. Anyway, Jack's brushes were wonderful and I'm now
thawing out a few of the assorted animal tales I've had in deep freeze for
at least 3 years (hey, I live in the land where deer shed their tails).
After the presentation, I found myself wondering where I might be at this
point in my life if I would have had teachers like Vince, David and Jack and
it made me sort of sad. Then someone yelled, "Let's get a drink" and I
immediately got over it. I really hope they make Tool Doctors a permanent
part of NCECA. I just feel sorry for the next panel because this year's
Tool Docs are a hard act to follow.

The other presentation that I hope will become an annual event is the
Clayart Slide Critique. I was really glad that it was held on Wednesday
because Russel was a nervous wreck! He was doing fine until he saw the size
of the Clayart room. He started agonizing over everything and frankly, he
was no fun at all. Thank goodness for the Black Sambucca. He finally
calmed down and everything fell into place. Granted, things were a little c
ramped, but it was a very enlightening experience. Not only did I learn the
dos and don'ts of slide taking, I had the opportunity to see other
Clayarters' works. If I ever decide to get off my butt and photograph my
work, at least now there's a good chance that I won't screw them up too
badly. Russel did a great job of putting the presentation together and
thank you to everyone who contributed equipment and their time to help.

Thank you to all of our room sponsors. The conference is a much warmer
place to be with the hospitality room. You can be by yourself, but never
alone. Thank you to Alice and Feriz for the wonderful reception and I mean
WONDERFUL! If it wasn't for an early dinner invitation, I would have eaten
every one of those tiny balls of fresh mozzarella! They even had
mortadella! I was in heaven. What nice people they are. (Not because they
fed us like royalty, they REALLY are very nice people). Thanks to Mel for
hosting our room. He's like a big lovable bear (polar). He hugs like one
too. Thanks to Kathy Gordon for running the mug exchange again. She does a
terrific job, doesn't she? If Kathy or Paul Lewing lived anywhere near me,
I'd probably never get any work done. They like to laugh and I just love
them. I sort of missed the trading floor chaos of last year's exchange, but
since there were more of us participating this year, single file was the way
to go.

My biggest thanks have to go Joe and Richard. If it weren't for them, I'd
never be attending these conferences where I sleep too little, drink too
much and spend money I haven't made yet. Clayart not only gave me the
opportunity to know these two wonderful guys, it gave me the chance to
meet people that I am honored to say are my friends. We're scattered all
over the world. Russel is in Belgium, Bacia is in Wisconsin, Linda is in
New York, Liz is in Canada, Nan is in Illinois, Marcia's in Montana, Mishi
is out in the desert somewhere, et al, but when we get together once a
year, it's as if we really weren't apart at all. We've spent the previous
years talking about our work and our common love of clay. We did the same
thing this year, but we also started talking about our personal lives and
felt very comfortable doing so. I think many of us went from being "clay
friends" to being "friend friends" and I suspect some of us won't have to
wait until next March to get together again.

Do you know that Joyce Lee is as sweet as she sounds with the most friendly
face you'd want to see. What a sweetheart she is.

The exhibits I saw were great. The shows at the Arvada Center were
wonderful and that K-12 exhibit blew me away again. Such big talent from
such young hands. I love it!

I can't finish this post without mentioning two of the most interesting
Clayarters. They just really impress me. I was having a conversation with
Louis Katz and Jon Singer. With every other sentence I was learning
something new and caught myself digging through my purse trying to find pen
and paper to take notes. It didn't take me long to realize that their
combined IQ was probably around 3000. I knew Louis (nice guy, great
textures in his work, gotta a crush on him and Nils), but had never met Jon,
who is a very friendly person and a true chocoholic. Now, those of you who
haven't met either of these men are probably saying "So she talked with two
really smart guys". The only thing I can tell you is that when you meet
them face to face, you will know what I'm talking about. Forget the three
piece suit, professor type person. Hair and mad scientist are the first two
things that pop into my mind. Come to think about it, that's exactly what
Einstein looked like. Anyway, they're two terrific people who only serve to
reinforce my belief that you should never judge a book by it's cover.

I've gone on too long, even for me. The last thing I'd like to say is that
if you've never attended an NCECA conference, you're really missing a lot.
You will learn more about clay in those few days than you can imagine and
you'll have a good time too. Start saving for Charlotte. Or, if you're
like me, start paying off your credit card, that's how I get there.

In Aliquippa, Pa, missing everyone, but getting some sleep.