Richard Aerni on fri 28 jan 00
Greetings one and all,
Lately there has been the usual annual spate of NCECA postings...paeans
of praise, lamentations of regret from those unable to make it, and
spasms of spite (how's that for alliterative purple prose?) from some who
wish NCECA would better address their needs.
I confess that I have, at one time or another, felt all of those emotions
as regards to NCECA. Now, however, I am in a (probably) transient state
of relative objectivity regarding the organization, so please bear with
me while I make a few observations.
NCECA offers a veritable banquet of ceramic offerings to those interested
in clay. I believe one would have to be brain dead to be unable to find
something of interest to you there. But, NCECA can't be all things to
everyone, nor should they try to be. Their mission is to serve the
educational community in clay...and to that end they provide their
primary impetus. Much like other disciplines, the annual convention
gives the chance for schools to interview and hire, afford networking,
allow an audience for new ideas, new potters, even old potters on
occasion, for students to check out possible schools to attend, allow
ideas to be planted, germinate and perhaps bear fruit, as well as any
number of other purposes and functions if those who are there have the
vision and energy to accomplish them. It is not exclusive.
As a studio potter making his living in clay, I find myself mostly unable
to attend the conference. My schedule does not provide a spring break
like most schools do, nor does my travel budget generally allow for these
types of outings. The same also applies to the Arrowmont biennial
Functional Clay Conference, which takes place at a time I am both doing
shows and up to my elbows in producing orders for galleries. So be
it...I've had to learn to live with those facts. But just because NCECA
does not make it easy for us studio potters to attend and contribute to
the event, does not mean we are excluded. It is just not a dance
provided primarily for us. But, it seems they have been making more of
an effort to address some of their programming to our needs, as well they
should, since there are a very finite number of educational opportunities
to teach clay, and an ever expanding (so it seems) number of graduates of
clay programs. Many of their graduates will probably test the
marketplaces of production pottery at some time or other, and it would be
in the best interests of NCECA to address this fact.
What got me thinking anew about this whole thing was a comment from
someone (Mel?) that studio potters should be at NCECA, because there
wasn't anyplace else for working potters to get together. Well,
personally, I find multiple opportunities to get together with other
working potters throughout the year, be it at craft shows (and those
lengthy dinners that follow), at clay guild meetings, or at workshops, to
name a few. At all of these events we trade stories of success and
failure, techniques, glazes, bat around ideas, drink beer, get silly.
Probably just like all you teachers do at NCECA.
Anyway, there really isn't much of a point to all of this, other than to
say you can't have it all, and learn to appreciate what you do have. If
you can't do that, then get up the energy and resolve to make something
happen that meets your needs.
Bloomfield, NY...off the soapbox, back to the studio
clennell on sat 29 jan 00
I think you'd have to really have your head in the sand to not get
something from the offerings at Necca (shows, presenters, buds,information
galore). Is it for studio potters? We work and talk about clay every day.
We belong to clay organizations, most of our friends are potters, we go to
workshops etc, etc. My idea of a holiday is to stop talking about our
business and our pots. I can't afford to take a weeks social potters
vacation and also a real vacation.
I'm not saying I wouldn't like to be able to but I don't have "independent
means". No work, no money! No money and I'll have to teach again. Don't
want to do that, so, no Necca.
Being a studio potter is full of concessions- money and time are two of them.
We are thinking about Necca in the Carolinas 2001. We can drive, and I
hope there are pockets that aren't in the Bible belt, because i like
mooonshine. I owe a few Clayarters a drink or two. It will be payback time
Tony and Sheila Clennell
Sour Cherry Pottery
4545 King St.
Beamsville, On. L0R 1B1
John Rodgers on sun 30 jan 00
The South has always had a strange relation between it's Bible thumping and its
booze. It's a sin but one that is tolerated in many quarters.
There used to be an old song, something about being a cornbread lovin' country
boy, goes to town on Saturday night, then goes to Church on Sunday, but is out
behind the old gray mule when the sun comes up on Monday. Pretty well sums it up
Saturdays sinnin' taken care of by Sunday's savin' and Monday dawns with the
natural man back out there earnin' his livin' with the sweat of his brow, with
all indescretions forgiven.
I had a a great uncle who was a preacher all his life. Hated liquer in the the
home. Believed it to be a sinful thing to have in the house. However, it wasn't
sinful if it was in the barn. And he had been known to take a social nip out
there when other men were over for business. Of course it begs the question
sometimes as to what the business was. But never in the house and never on
Sunday. His philosopy was that a man under the age of thirty who took a drink wa
a fool, but a man over thirty who wouldn't take a drink was fool! Perhaps he kne
that if a man didn't take up drinking at a young age, it would be very unlikely
that he would become an alchoholic. Much like tobacco consumption. And somewhere
in all that was an associated element of medicinal wisdom as well. Witness the
debate today over the value of a tiny bit of alchohol being consumed daily.
I won't attempt to speak for Carolinians today, but many of my ancestors were
Carolinians, including the ancestors of my great uncle. Many served with and wen
to church with Andrew Jackon. Many of those ancestors migrated to Alabama. They
even named their new community Carolina Community. The road signs in that area o
Alabama still bear the name, although the relations that were there are now
scattered to the 4 corners of the earth in these modern times.
Carolinians have their way of looking at things. I was in the Navy many years ag
with some Tarheels. Fine fellows. Honest, God-fearing and hardworking.....and
hard playing. When they would take leave and go home, they always came back with
some of the finest whiskey every made anywhere...bootleg of course. Store bought
stuff didn't even compare.
So I expect that when you get to the Carolinas you will find what you seek, if
you look smartly, and will be able to satisfy your obligation to your fellow
clayarters. And who knows, the provider may come with the Good Book in one hand
and a jug in the other.
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> I think you'd have to really have your head in the sand to not get
> something from the offerings at Necca (shows, presenters, buds,information
> galore). Is it for studio potters? We work and talk about clay every day.
> We belong to clay organizations, most of our friends are potters, we go to
> workshops etc, etc. My idea of a holiday is to stop talking about our
> business and our pots. I can't afford to take a weeks social potters
> vacation and also a real vacation.
> I'm not saying I wouldn't like to be able to but I don't have "independent
> means". No work, no money! No money and I'll have to teach again. Don't
> want to do that, so, no Necca.
> Being a studio potter is full of concessions- money and time are two of them.
> We are thinking about Necca in the Carolinas 2001. We can drive, and I
> hope there are pockets that aren't in the Bible belt, because i like
> mooonshine. I owe a few Clayarters a drink or two. It will be payback time
> for me.
> Tony and Sheila Clennell
> Sour Cherry Pottery
> 4545 King St.
> Beamsville, On. L0R 1B1
> http://www.sourcherrypottery.com (website)
> fax 905-563-9383