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nceca/clayart room (long)

updated mon 13 jan 03


Joyce Lee on sun 12 jan 03

So many have responded to my post
mentioning NCECA ... wanting more details,
specifically about the Clayart Room and
what to expect there.... that I'm sending
this one to the List.

The Clayart Room is Mel's baby from
beginning to end. He is the originator,
the organizer, the spirit of the room. ACerS
sponsors the room .... as has ITC ... very generously....
adds a flavor of professionalism as well as
friendship that we all appreciate. There-
fore, some things may be different this
year. I personally can't say for sure that
there will be such a space set aside for
us. I'm along for the ride, as you are, I
hope, just waiting to be pointed in the right
direction. Maybe Mel will chime in when he's
ready to give us the real skinny.

BUT in the past few years, Mel has kept the room
open all day and into the evening. It's a spot
to meet, to share pictures of our work, to
rest (especially if your lodging is other than the
conference hotel), to leave messages, found
articles etc., AND to find folks with whom to
share a meal or attend a demonstration. Happens
all the time. You eating with anybody? Come
join us. Or as a group is leaving together:
Ok if I join you? I've met some GREAT claybuds
this way with whom every exchange had a special
charge to it because HERE walking with ME is
Dave or Lori or ....... some brand new best
friends that I didn't even know I knew .....
I know five (six?) of us who'll recall our
Sports Bar experience into infinity ... pure fun.
AND in a more exclusive (?) spot, the VERY
young guys who wanted so badly to connect
with our charming, beautiful Linda Blossom. I
hasten to add that one does not have to be
BEAUTIFUL to enjoy NCECA (as was once
rumored on this very list) ..... thank goodness ...
although it's nice to admire my bud Doug Gray from
across the room, is it not?

All shapes; all sizes; just bring your enthusiasm
.... and DON"T think that everybody else is
hosting you ..... YOU are the hosts here, also.
Except for Mel, of course .... he's The Man.

Can happen that one enters and
finds noone else there ....
wait a few minutes ..... others will arrive
shortly. We've had rather elaborate arrangements
at times .... others, less so ... really doesn't
matter. Clayarters, being clayarters, will
make it work.

One evening is the mug exchange event. You'll
be hearing more from the organizers later.
Lots of fun ..... laughing .... getting together ... loads
of "in" jokes with the welcome change from the
usual in that we are ALL "in" on what's happening.

There's the slide show .... Russel's event ... he
does a fabulous job of pulling it together with
Carla's able assistance ... show has
differed slightly from year to year, but always
fun (audience is clayarters, after all, and the
slides are our work) and informative ....
we've had critique sessions in the past which
involved some most professional suggestions
about our pots/about our slides.

There ARE name tags in that we each receive
an NCECA tag ..... and Mel is usually in
charge of adding a colored dot for announcing
to one another that we are clayarters! Yea.....

Perhaps others will add their own perspective to
what I've mentioned. What have I enjoyed most
about the Clayart Room, I've been asked ... putting names with
faces #1 ..... resting my weary bones while being
entertained #2 ..... although they are only a
fraction higher on my list than any other happening.
Everything kind of melds together .... one year
morphing into another .... was it last year
I got to talk with Ken Norwicki? Or the year
before? Which year was it that I drew Jim Bob's
wonderful triangular teabowl .... so much work in
it! I adore looking at
other clayarter's work ..... some in albums... some
carried loosely in a pocket .... looking and having
the bud right there to tell me the story behind it
all. Some of our work is absolutely phenomenal.
But even the work that isn't (such as my own)
means something special when being presented
by a claybud with his own tale to spin. I've
been honored&proud when a claybud has
commented positively on my work ... because I
knew that THEY knew what I'd been through
to achieve that specific look ... the failures,
the disappointments, the tremendous boost
of adrenalin when I knew I'd come closer to
nailing it. Didn't matter that my mug/bowl wasn't
all that I'm still striving to create ..... it was from
ME ..... or Ann...... or Lisa ...... or Bonnie .....
doesn't matter ...... from a clayarter ..... and was
appreciated for what it was.

In the Mojave who hopes, however, never, ever
again to hear a Spoiled Brat clayarter griping
because his randomly selected mug/thing wasn't
a Mel or a Dannon or a Vince etc ..... but was created
by one of us with a lesser degree of talent or
experience ..... such comments tell us much more
about the one making them, than they do about
the terrible bad luck that happened to poor
wonderful ME...... AND I hope never, ever
again to hear a visiting gentleman being openly,
negatively criticized for being "too dressed up"
for NCECA ....... I don't remember who said it
nor why it was said so loudly .... but I do recall
the embarrassed silence that followed from the
rest of us in the room .......