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my nceca travelogue

updated wed 22 mar 06


David Hendley on tue 21 mar 06

Karen and I are finally back home and back to normal after
our marathon Oregon trip. We had a good time touring around
Oregon after the conference.

As others have already raved, it was just great for Clayart to
own the Red Lion hotel. It couldn't have been more convenient
or more fun. Whenever the elevator door opened you knew
you would see friends on the other side. I feel absolutely blessed
to know so many of you as friends.

In spite of all the rain, Portland was a great city to experience
and explore. My favorite day was Friday, when there was sunshine,
rain, snow, and hail within a period of a few hours. Unfortunately,
I missed Mel's opening because on Wednesday I had not yet figured
out that there was NW 6th Street, a NE 6th Street, a SE 6th Street,
and a SW 6th Street. Despite our best planning and efforts in the
rain, Kelly and I ended up on the wrong side of town. By the next
week however, I know my way around like an Oregonian.

The actual conference lectures and panels were pretty thin, both in
number and in regard to my interests, but the ones I attended were
worthwhile. I certainly hope some of you will submit proposals
for next year's conference (due May 1). There is also good news
that John Klassen, the new Staff Director at NCECA is actively
seeking to include more people in the programs. He stopped by
the AcerS office last week and indicated that he would like to
see participation by The Potters Council.

The Mug Exchange seemed to work smoothly. The Mugettes did
a fine job, and I enjoyed being simply a participant. I was pleased
that Craig Martel got my 'pony hoof cup', and I scored a fine
David McBeth cup in the exchange. Last year I never even met
the maker of my pick, so this was a lot more fun.

I had some great meals in Portland - salmon (wild, David Suzuki)
with Liz, Ron & John, Victoria, and Steve, and snapper with the
Potters Council (thank you very much). On Saturday evening we
went to the Rock Bottom Brewery with John and Darlene Williams
(Trinity Ceramic Supply), and were amazed to find that the hostess
was one of my daughter's friends who moved from Texas to
Portland. I had delicious fish tacos, and we were surprised when
the bill came that she had given us the 40% family discount. John's
generous tips made up for any savings from the discount.

The best shows I saw were ones where there were pots from
working potters, reasonably priced for sale. The Real Mother Goose
Gallery had an incredibly fine collection of work from around the
country. In Eugene, Hank took us to several galleries that had
fabulous collections of pottery (more on that in a minute). On
Saturday we took the MAX train to the Japanese Garden. As
best I could tell, it was about a half-mile walk from the station to
the garden. After trudging through the cold and light rain for about
a mile, we came to a sign: Japanese Garden .7 miles. We finally
made it, only 40 minutes before the 4:00 closing time. What a
wonderful setting for a pottery show. I was quite surprised to see
Toshiko Takaezu sitting in the corner. I had met her before,
through the connection that she and my professor, John Miller,
both studied at Cranbrook with Maija Grotell. When the show
ended, she and her niece (thankfully) gave us a ride back to the
MAX station.

After the conference, we traveled to Salem, to visit a college
friend, where we enjoyed a 'wine, cheese, and pear' festival
at a local vineyard. I was struck by the lack of grandeur of the
Oregon state capitol. It is a very modest 1930's building, not
much bigger than a county courthouse in Texas. Hey, no
complaints, I'm all for small government, and the lack of sales
tax in Oregon was an absolute treat - no more fooling with
pennies to buy a cup of coffee.

The next day we continued south to the Eugene area, where
Karen visited a couple of 'democratic schools' (the kids help
make the rules). I can hear Mel and Tony moaning, but if you
could get over the surface lack of formality, you could tell all
the kids were really engaged and learning. Karen, by the way,
is planning on starting a similar school in the next couple of years.
She was encouraged. We had a wonderful lunch with Hank and
Bev Murrow and David Stannard, and then Hank took us around
Eugene, to several galleries. Being a college town, there is a lot
going on in Eugene, for its size. We also saw the university's
anagama, which will soon have the most elaborate and beautiful
'kiln shed' I have ever seen - huge timbers of post and beam

From Eugene we went back to Portland, and the next day we
got an early start for Mt. Hood. It was an amazing drive.
My rental car came with a thermometer, and the temperature
dropped a degree almost every minute as we ascended the
mountain. By the time we reached the lodge and ski area, it
was 23 degrees and snowing heavily. We were going to eat
lunch at the lodge, but decided we would be taking too much
of a chance at getting stuck with no snow tires or chains, so
we started back down after only 15 minutes. Still worth the
drive. We then went through the famous-for-fruit Hood River
Valley, which is quite picturesque, and proceeded down the
Interstate, parallel and next to the Columbia River, to the
Multnomah Falls, which are over 600 feet high.

We had a great last evening in Portland, mostly around the
Pearl District, and ended up at Music Millennium, a record
store that was celebrating its 37th anniversary - quite an
accomplishment with the onslaught of corporate stores and the
Internet. One of our favorite singers, David Wilcox, came and
performed, and there was lots of good, free food and drink,
and we even won CDs in the prize drawings. Since we then
didn't have to buy dinner, we proceeded to the Aladdin Theater,
a 1930's movie theater converted into a music venue, to spend
our dinner money to see David's full show.

After 10 days of being cold, I'm happy to be back home in the
sunshine, but it was a good trip. Great to see all of you!
David Hendley