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first time at nceca

updated sat 22 mar 03


Brenda Beeley on fri 21 mar 03

My NCECA experience from another first time attendee.....

I did a last minute decision to attend NCECA.....put a roommate wanted ad
on Clayart and found Margarete Sanchez, a raku artist from Texas.... who
turned out to be a fun, wonderful roomie and now a life long friend. NCECA
for me started at SEATAC airport waiting for my plane. It was easy to tell
who was going......potter have a I went up and introduced
myself to a group of animated individualists.......turned out to be Paul
Lewing, Gail Lurie and others (sorry names just fly out of my brain into
the ether).

Heading for dinner the first night I realized there were other people from
my local guild attending so I called Lari Ward and Phylliss Greene who
became my dinner companions for the trip. We splurged and dined
extravagantly........even the waiter was delicious!

On Wednesday I boarded the B Bus and ran into Catherine Merrill from San
Franciso at the Cuban /American exhibit. I'm hosting one of her workshops
at my studio this summer so it was great to meet her in the flesh and see
her work up close. Later that week she presented a slide show about her
experiences in Cuba working with local artists and the excitement of
collaborating on a piece. At lunch we discussed her summer hands-on
workshop and got jazzed about the idea of doing a collaborative piece as
part of the event.
I lived in a hippie commune for 8 years in the 70's and miss the
interaction and community spirit I found there........and have wanted to
turn my art and studio more into a place and means for artists to
collaborate so I was really glad when she was on the same wave-length. If
this idea turns you me.

I attended all the slide shows on Architectural Ceramics. MaPo
Kinnord-Payton almost had me in tears. She went to Zaare, Ghana and showed
thow the village participates in building and decorating a woman's
hut.......almost like coil building a huge pot. The whole community helps.
Women first go to the well to get water to mix with the clay. They then
carry huge water-filled jugs on their heads to the site. Water is dumped on
the clay which is kneaded by foot. The clay is then formed into balls or
discs and thrown to the head builder who coils the hut. Women dance and
sing to keep the men entertained. Children help. Now I won't complain so
much when I have to drive into Seattle or Tacoma to get a bag of clay!!

Then their were slide shows aptly labeled: " Architecture as Metaphor"
which really sang to me. I'm been wanting to create smaller pieces but
within an architectural context that expresses spirit, place and personal
history. These artists spoke to my heart:

Cara Moczygemba does wonderful assemblages of cast, molded and figurative
pieces that were probably my personal favorite of the whole show.

Patrick Crabb, from Santa Ana College created shrine like structures
incorporating faces and artifacts from all traditions. Outstanding work!

Nina Hole from Denmark does onsite installation art around the world
creating 20-30 foot outdoor clay structures filling them with wood,
wrapping in a fiber blanket and igniting at night. An awesome slide show.

Unfortunately, there was so much to do, see, go that I didn't get much time
to go visit the Clayart room and friends this trip. I did get to hug an awesome cup at the xchange from Mark Heinemann, danced with
a much of crazed orange dotted women around a pile of discarded clothing.

Oh, and I bumped into Linda Blossom who is coming here to do an
Architectual Workshop in May. Great Fun. Found out she only works in
paper clay now. (which is wonderful for me since I slabbed rolled 1600
pounds of clay for Peter King when he was here-----oh my aching back). She
devised a way for one person to do large scale pieces. Now I'm even more
excited about her workshop.

It was great fun meeting people who will teach at my studio this
year....Linda, Catherine, Mel. And also asking others to come teach in
2004 and 2005. I had no idea that would happen!!

I'm looking forward to many more NCECA's.

Now, I gotta get back to my studio,

ClaySpace on Puget Sound
Brenda Beeley
P.O. Box 1339
Suquamish, WA 98392-1339
(360) 598-3688