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nceca and the green explosion

updated wed 24 mar 04


David Hendley on mon 22 mar 04

While I was away for the NCECA Conference, spring descended on
East Texas. I returned yesterday to hills full of trees with tender green
buds, yellow pine tree pollen on every surface, thick enough to draw
on, a yard that needs a lawn mower, and asparagus shoots 2 feet high
in the garden. Everything has a green hue to it.
What a difference 5 days can make, and what a change from the snow
flurries blowing around as we took off from Indy Sunday morning!

It was so great to visit with everyone again. I love they way we can just
pick up where we left off last year, or in this case 2 years ago, since
I didn't make it to the conference last year.
Mel looked so good as a new, slim, best-selling author, but he was so
busy signing autographs that I missed spending much time with him.
That was more than made up for by the opportunity to hang out with
my best writing buddy Tony Clennell. Although we had met before,
it was always briefly.
And, of course, there were dozens and dozens of Clayarters who I
wish I'd had the time to talk to more than just a quick 'how've
you been?'

Thursday evening I got to lounge in the whirlpool with a whole tub-full
of Clayart ladies, which was fun, except they kept looking over at the
20-something college guys in the pool.
I think I got their attention again the next evening, wearing my elegant
formal attire.
John Elder and I were roommates again (there's something about
Texans and Canadians), but we were so busy we didn't spend much time
in the room.

Of course, as is always the case, all of our comrades who gave presentations
did outstanding jobs - Louis Katz, John Hesselberth, and John Britt.
Any time you see that a Clayarter is on the program, you know you will
get a well-informed, well-presented, no BS, and useful education. I hope
more of you will consider presenting in the future.
In contrast, I went to several sessions which were unfocused or poorly
and thoughtlessly delivered.

Thanks to the Potters Council and Joyce for the Clayart Room. It is
always the focal point of my days at any conference - the first stop in the
morning and the last stop at night.
Thanks to all the Muggetts for making the mug exchange run so well.
I think the new system worked good, and gave us more time to visit and
meet people, rather than stand in line and wait to receive a mug.

Thanks also to local potter John Niehaus for driving me and for taking the
group of us to the Rathskeller German restaurant. There is nothing more fun
than finding a real one-of-a-kind, long-established place that doesn't have
a clone in Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago. I also loved the Sicilian-Italian
place where Don and Cheryl and some of my Texas friends ate Saturday
evening. It was close to the hotels, so I know others of you also went
Also, Kathleen and Micki, thanks for driving me around to see the shows.
I got to see a lot more, in less time, in addition to making a well needed
stop for some fried chicken.

I need to fire some pots, but the garden needs to be planted. I'll be
thinking of you all as I till the soil.
David Hendley