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say "yes" to nceca

updated sun 19 mar 06


Marcia Selsor on fri 17 mar 06

Tony and Marianne,
I have been going to NCECA since 1971. I have many old friends there.
When I first started
teaching in Montana in 1975 , I thought NCECA was a great way to stay
in touch with what was happening in Clay.
I was the only ceramics instructor at my college. And yes, I am an
academic..sorry but its true. I always took
as many students with me as possible. We had sales at Christmas and
got the student government to
match the funds. I felt they needed to see what was happening in
clay from around the country and the world.
-they needed much more than my own perspective.

I enjoyed all the shows this year. It never ceases to amaze me that
there are so many talented
people working in clay. The variety of ideas and touch are astounding.
I don't have lots of museums in Montana and I don't even live near
Archie Bray, so seeing the
smorgasbord is exhilarating. NCECA has always been a gathering of
clay people. Lots of good
exchange of ideas, technical info, etc. just like the daily dose on
clayart. Clayart is a very fine bunch
of friends who exchange daily. But NCECA friends go back decades.
SO that is why I always attend NCECA. It is my recharge after a
winter of solitude. It brings on the spring.
I say "yes" to NCECA to get me out of the winter doldrums.
And if you want to take an architectural ceramics workshop in Italy,
I am following Tony and Malcolm in June 2007.

Marcia Selsor

On Mar 17, 2006, at 6:05 PM, clennell wrote:

> Sour Cherry Pottery
>> I am proud of what I learned, even though it hurt to be honest to
>> myself. I
>> looked at Bacia's Sandy's, Hank's and so many others.
>> So...where should I go this summer and receive real instruction?
>> Back to what
>> I need? Penland...Haystack...Toronto?
>> Let me know, and I'm glad you brought that up. Wishing you another
>> geat day,
>> Marianne
> marianne: I luv Nceca but it is not where I would go to improve my
> work.
> When my kids where picking courses at university i told them pick the
> teacher not the subject. A good teacher can make glaze chemistry
> interesting- watch the glaze geeks jump on me for that one!
> I like to look at my clay career in 3 different categories clay
> (throwing,
> handbuilding), glaze, firing. Pick the one you think you are
> weakest in and
> tackle it. Pick a teacher that not only knows his/her stuff but can
> teach
> it. Many on this list are near genius in glazes but can they teach?
> Many
> make great pots but can they teach? Many fire kilns to near
> perfection but
> can they teach? Pick a teacher! Teaching ought to be the highest paid
> profession in the world.
> Save your money and come to Italy in May 2007 - 2 weeks with me
> making and
> woodfiring and 2 weeks with malcolm Davis making soot. how's that
> for more
> of my shameless self promotion. I may be short on many things, but
> i can
> teach and love doing it!!! Bet your farm on it!
> cheers,
> Tony
> Tony and Sheila Clennell
> Sour Cherry Pottery
> 4545 King Street
> Beamsville, Ontario
> ______________________________________________________________________
> ________

Marcia Selsor

John Hesselberth on sat 18 mar 06

> .

NCECA is about many things, but for me it is mostly about mental
stimulation, communing with old friends, and meeting new ones.
Workshops serve a different purpose. Yes there is some of the above,
but they are mostly about learning and practicing new techniques from
an instructor whose work and skill you admire. Staying at home and
making 1000 mugs is different still. It is about developing the
skills necessary to become a better potter making and doing things
you are already familiar with. ALL are important to growing in the
world of pottery.

I would encourage everyone to look at Barb Lord's slide show--it was
really great Barb-- at


Visualize actually being able to see what she recorded, pick up and
handle some of it -- well maybe not the demonstrators--and think
about the new ideas that she and we who attended NCECA must have come
home with. And she only recorded a tiny, tiny fraction of what was
there to experience.

Now if you spend all of your time in the Clayart room--as great as
that was--or use the opportunity to sleep late in the mornings or
traipse through the Exhibition Hall 15 times a day or are afraid to
meet new people and go places you have never been---- well, you
aren't going to get the best out of what NCECA has to offer. It is a
smorgasbord of pottery delights. Sample a little of everything. While
it can be used as a 2 lb. steak where you gorge yourself on only one
of the 'foods' that are offered, that, in my opinion, is not the best
way to get the most out of NCECA.

We have also seen, from a number of the posts the last few days, that
NCECA can be experienced for very little money--certainly less than
the typical week-long workshop would cost--if you set your mind to do

So, Taylor and other NCECA-never-have-beens, I would urge you to give
it try next year. But, if you do, go with the commitment to take in
every bit of it for as many hours a day as your body can stand.
Decide right up front that you will find a way to get to at least a
few of the exhibits that require getting on a bus or train and are
away from the main NCECA area. Spend some time in the exhibition
hall, but don't linger there too long. Watch the demos for a while.
Attend a few of the lectures. Go to the Randall session. Have coffee
with some potter friends you haven't seen in a while. Walk into the
Clayart room and introduce yourself to the first person you see--yes,
do it even if you have convinced yourself you are the most
introverted person in the whole world. Get a little advice from Chris
Campbell on marketing your product or from Bonnie Hellman a financial
question. Visit the K-12 exhibit. And on and on and on. And be
prepared to go home with a degree of mental stimulation, some new
knowledge, and warm memories that you can get nowhere else in the
pottery world to the degree that you can at NCECA. What you get out
of NCECA depends to a high degree on how hard you are willing to work
at getting something out of it during those few days.



kevin finegan on sat 18 mar 06

I'm not a regular contributor to Clayart, but I'm going to start with my two
cents about whether to attend NCECA or not. I had the wonderful op-
portunity to attend Tony's workshop here and San Antonio immediately
prior to NCECA. I hadn't gotten off my high when I stepped onto the
plane bound for Portland. My companions will attest that I spend most
of the week saying, "Tony said this," or "Tony did that this way." I made
my way to the Chinese ClayArt booth and Bailey's in the exhibit hall to
grab the tools that Tony had used during the workshop, especiall his
"butt crack tool" and my friends,
who hadn't gone to the workshop soon beat their way over to the booths
when they saw my tools. My comments had such an impact that I heard
one of my companions say that she had to get up at the "butt crack" of
dawn the next day for her flight. I told Tony at the end of the workshop
that I believed my work will change, and I think it will.
I apologize to Clayarters that I didn't attend any of the Clayart functions.
All that being said, Portland was filled with wonderful exhibitions full of work
that was truly inspiring. I spent the better part of three days travelling
around to the various exhibitions and didn't see a bad one in that time.
My favorite was the exhibition at the Japenese Gardens, where cherries
blossoms bloomed in the snow.
If faced with the decision of having to choose between attending
NCECA or attending a workshop or conference, I'm not sure I would
be able to narrow it down based upon the event itself. I think the
learner should be part of the decision. I've attended workshops
where I got absolutely nothing to take home with me, not because
of the fault of the workshop or presenter, but because I wasn't ready
to learn or hear what was presented.
For me, it would have been a hard choice to narrow it down between
Tony or NCECA. I feel very fortunate that I was able to attend both.
I got back to the studio this past week filled with enthusiasm and
Kevin Finegan in San Antonio

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