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cermatech report

updated tue 15 feb 00


Jeff Lawrence on mon 14 feb 00

Hello Clayart,

I attended Cermatech last week and thought those who didn't might be
interested in some impressions.

As background: I slipcast and jolly-jigger light fixtures. I have no formal
ceramic training, and rely on books (and Clayart) to learn what I need to
know. There's a lot of free bad advice in the pottery world. Suppliers give
bad recommendations and stonewall on information. People who charge for
consultation give bad advice. Long-time potters dole out nuggets of
folkloric advice, which turns out wrong (the potters on Clayart constitute a
delightful exception).

At Cermatech I met with and learned from people with proven expertise. There
was no anti-production superciliousness, just experts who knew their stuff
and people interested in knowing it too.

Among the presenters, I talked to clay guys from Kentucky-Tennessee Clay and
Old Hickory Clay Co. who knew individual clay types like old friends, and
are eager to introduce you to new varieties better suited to your purpose..
I met Ron Roy and Tony Hansen -- those Canadians are so gracious I'm almost
tempted to try civility myself. Dick Pelleriti of Ram Products showed how
"real" production potting is done and made me wish I had 25,000 for one of
his presses. Bill Campbell amazed me by his insight not only into technical
aspects but equally important, the marketing and managerial facets of
running a business. Howard Axner casually threw out some jiggering kinks
that solve problems I've been chewing on for months. The prevailing feeling
was a good bit like Clayart at its best -- generousity of understanding and
personal warmth.

Among the attendees (English is funny - shouldn't we be "attenders"?) were a
number of people who make not Great Art, but Good Stuff -- ceramic baskets,
switch-plate covers, good-looking pottery, storage crocks, etc. For me,
there is honesty in making things people want and intelligence in making
those things as efficiently as possible. If these ideas inform your business
activity, you'd probably get a lot out of this conference. I found it
eye-opening and exhilirating.

Best regards,

Jeff Lawrence ph. 505-753-5913
Sun Dagger Design fx. 505-753-8074
18496 US HWY 285/84
Espanola, NM 87532