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nceca in a big fat nutshell

updated sun 24 mar 02


Carla Flati on sat 23 mar 02

Hi Everyone!

I was planning on writing this sooner while everything was fresh in my =
mind, but I just woke up! Just kidding, but today was the first day I =
felt normal since I left for Kansas City. I'd been running on pure =
adrenaline (along with caffeine, nicotine and a bit of alcohol) for six =
straight days! Russel has made me the poster child for lesser chemical =
dependency. However, I did enjoy an occasional diet pill back in the =
day. You could throw 500 lbs. of clay, clean your entire house, do the =
laundry and paint your living room ALL IN THE SAME DAY! But I digress.

My NCECA experience started out on the Saturday before the conference. =
I found myself frantically cleaning my house because Russel, Lori Leary =
and Pat Voss were on their way from eastern PA to spend a few days with =
me before we left for KC on Monday. I had dinner half cooked when they =
were about an hour away. Don't you know, this rain storm hits and our =
electricity went out! I had to meet them at the door with a search =
light sized flashlight Every candle I own was lit and the house smelled =
like marinara in a flower garden. Since I have a gas stove I was able =
to finish the pasta, but the roast just sort of poached in the oven. =
We all ate by candlelight and sat around drinking wine and laughing A =
LOT. What great people they are. On Sunday, they opted for a shopping =
trip to IKEA and Mexican food over the Andy Warhol museum. Go figure. =
We had a great time anyway. The trip out was wonderful. Lots of =
talking, laughing, and music. Lori has a very eclectic collection of =
CD's. Jazz, African, and stuff I never even heard of. I had R&B and =
Latin. Never a dull moment. The trip home was completely different! =
Total silence broken by the occasional snore. What a pathetic bunch we =

As soon as we arrived at the Hyatt, I started seeing Clayarters which is =
the absolute best part of NCECA. (I'm going to write a separate message =
for all you "I can't afford it" folks cos this post is already going to =
be too long) Linda Blossom and Mishy Lowe are dear friends and my =
partners in crime. It took us no time at all to start breaking the law. =
Found the Hyatt bar in 5.6 seconds. The old faces are a wonderful =
sight, but I met a few new faces that will be old faces next year since =
every newcomer I ran into said they would definitely be in San Diego =
next year. I met Cindy Strnad (who now knows who I am). She is a =
lovely person. I also met Becky Shroeder and Melinda Collins this year. =
What hoots they are. Becky has a terrific sense of humor and is a very =
talented artist whether she knows it or not. Melinda is absolutely =
amazing. This is one woman who has taken natural materials to a whole =
new level. She was wearing a beautiful beaded necklace she made from =
her micaceous clay. I was hoping it would fall off so I could stick it =
in my purse! Her pots were beautiful too. I had my eye on the shot =
glass (complete with a little bottle of rum and a lime...great touch) =
she put in our mug exchange. I did however end up with a beautiful =
reduction fired porcelain bowl by Dan Dermer who I got to thank in =
person. Kathy Gordon did another great job (along with her baseball cap =
wearin crew) this year. My most memorable meeting this year was =
Raphael. That "arrogant thing" was so sweet! His work is beautiful =
too. I couldn't believe how well we hit it off. Of course, I couldn't =
impress him with any major clay accomplishments, but he was VERY =
impressed when I told him what my husband did for a living =
(trainer/equipment guy for the Penguins Hockey team....must be a man =
thing)We're friends now so no more knock down drag out fights I guess. =
Who'd have thunk it? =20

When I walked into the Clayart room at it's top capacity, sitting there =
were all the people that many of you refer to as the gurus. Mel, Vince, =
Dannon, Ron, John, Nils, Kurt and I know I'm forgetting some others. I =
wished I could have done that Vulcan mind meld thing on them all. I'd =
be hell on wheels! I thought how lucky I am that these are my clay =
friends, albeit, very intelligent, knowledgeable and extremely generous =
clay friends who I would venture to say are probably uncomfortable with =
the divine status they're given. Not an egoist amongst them. They love =
clay just like the rest of us, freely share their knowledge and they're =
all just terrific people. Seeing Joyce Lee, the matriarch of our list is =
always a joy. She's one classy lady let me tell you. Such a pleasant =
person, just don't piss her off ;-)

My hero, Bacia Edelman, kindly signed my copy of her article in Clay =
Times (Nov/Dec 2001). I think I'll frame it. How great to see her in =
real time for a change. I also got to spend time with Marta Gloviczki =
who is such a kind person and an enormous talent in her own right. =
Watch out for Marta! I bet I'll be having her sign my Clay Times one of =
these days. Had a very nice meeting with one of our woodfire queens, =
Merrie, the mother of mother. This is the first year we got to really =
sit down and talk. We even closed the bar together! She's a real =

A friend of mine introduced me to Lana Wilson!!!! I couldn't even be =
cool about it. I acted like such a fan. Shook her hand up and down =
telling her how much I loved her book and how it inspired me, how great =
she was on the Lynnette Jennings show and blah, blah, blah. She was so =
gracious and told me her main objective was to inspire other artists =
which made me feel much less of an idiot. What a nice lady!

If you made it this far, I guess you're wondering about the conference =
itself. Well, I made it to the Glaze Doctors with our own Paul Lewing. =
Very informative. A bunch of us Clayarters were all ready to hackle him =
and do the wave during his talk, but Paul dazed us by being so =
professional up there and we forgot what we wanted to do. Ron and John =
did receive a lot of unexpected advertising for their book during Paul's =
lecture. I know they were embarrassed, but hey, you know those =
Clayarters. They just can't help themselves when it comes to helping =
out friends. Paul had recommended the book early on in his talk and =
"What was the name of that book again?" and "Who wrote that book again?" =
could be heard all throughout the lecture.=20

The gallery hopping was great. As usual, I was put into a trance by =
Malcolm Davis' Shino. I think his work has had the same effect on a lot =
of other people because this year, my beloved Malcolm priced me right =
out of the ball game! The only thing I could afford was a small sushi =
dish. His work is absolutely beautiful and he deserves to be paid =
accordingly. I just have to make more money!!!! =20
I'm still picking porcelain shards out of my shoes after visiting the =
Material Speculations Exhibit. One of the installations, Natura Morta, =
included a huge circle of slate-like chips of porcelain surrounding a =
vase with flowers (all dark umber colored porcelain). You were suppose =
to walk on the chips which simulated the sound of something breaking, a =
sound I know all too well. I drop stuff a lot. I really enjoyed =
"Rotations". Three yard high Egyptian paste pieces, encased in metal =
"cages" suspended on chains. They reminded me of some dangling earrings =
I used to wear in high school. The colors were great....bright blue, =
pink and yellow.

Russel did another excellent job this year with the Clayart Slide =
Workshop. I think Dale Neese should do a poster of his "Pot with Pigs" =
slide. I'd pay big bucks for it! As usual, my goal for next NCECA is =
to take slides of my work. I've been saying that for 3 years and I =
still don't even own a camera! My other goal is to drop the weight I =
gained when I tried to stop smoking. Russel called me "Balloon =
What a friend.

I had dinner with Joe Molinaro one evening. Mel has already explained =
that Joe, along with Richard Burkett, started this list. It was so =
small back then that Joe and Richard used to make up questions and post =
them just to get things started. Anyway, Joe told me that people just =
keep walking up to him and thanking him for starting Clayart because it =
had changed their lives, some in very profound ways. I, for one can =
attest to that. I was an isolated potter, still am but at least I know =
where the other potters are. My friend (and accountant) Bonnie Hellman =
lives in Pittsburgh. I didn't know that until we met via Clayart! I =
never considered attending an NCECA before joining the list. I just =
couldn't picture myself running around a conference all by myself. Now, =
if Russel couldn't make it I'd be very sad, but I would still go because =
of all the Clayart friends I'd have waiting for me at the conference. =
It's been a whole new clay world for me. Hey, maybe that would be a =
good thread to start....How has Clayart changed your life? =20

I was trying to keep a journal of the whole trip, but now I can't =
remember what went along with the few words I jotted down. There's =
another thing I'm really terrible at....journal keeping. Never kept a =
diary much incriminating evidence.

Well, this post has gotten way too long so I'll just end it by saying =
that NCECA is always the highlight of my year and I enjoyed seeing =
everyone and si Dios quiere, I'll see everybody in San Diego!




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