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nceca-work the room/tent(s) & expense

updated sat 27 mar 04


Jim Tabor on thu 25 mar 04

I don't know of a greater show on earth for us potters/educators. The
midway (commercial vendors, schools/workshops/travel, and non-profits),
big tent (presenters), and side shows (the art) are such an attraction
it takes a vitreous heart to resist. When clay becomes a facination for
you, begin making plans for NCECA and work it out. Whatever is
right/best for you will be worth it if you work the "tent(s)".

Grins, groans, and gifts abound when the guns are left behind and the
"cloak of fear" is shed at the door. Go free of that excess bagage and
suck NCECA in like your best natural sponge gets saturated as it it
meant to. Work it and live it!! Sop it up until your experience is
dripping on others there or back in whatever your comfort zone is.
Feed on whats' good and let the rain roll off your back when/if you
encounter that leaky tent.

I had a mission at the midway, big tent, and side shows that was not
completed in in any of the venues because there is more than I could
take in; however, I worked the rooms as I could and came away feeling
very good as it should be. I do regret not visiting enough in Clayart
and the association with faces to online personalities that makes this
list so exciting to attend. Through information on Clayart, I saved my
school thousands of dollars on uranium disposal and was also able to
obtained a room at the Marriott (conference site) the day before leaving
for Indy. What a group??!!! Clayart is it's own big tent and a
conference unto itself with one on one presentations. What could be
better? Suffering from NCDD (Name Challenged Deficit Disorder), I can't
drop names but when entering the Clayart room, everyone is as
approachable as your brother or sister. Really good dialog. That has
been my experience from KC and Indy.

Expense has been an issue but because I don't post much I'll just add
this now. Sacrafice and work the room. You will be glad you did. My
first NCECA was in Toronto in '90 or'91 with a fee of $10 (student
traveling from Oklahoma). More than 10 conferences as an educator later
have also been at my expense. No regrets even though some took me over a
year to pay off. Indy is my second with some support for part of the
conference fee. I got the last of 150 bowls out of the kiln on Monday
for our school's Empty Bowls event and left for Indy on Tuesday. The
dinner was last night and was great but I wasn't able to pre -register
for NCECA with that looming commitment. It cost me an extra $50 for on
site registration plus my expenses. Indy's out of pocket expense would
have helped on spring break house remodeling that began last summmer.
Maybe I've gotten too comfortable with the chop saw in the dining room
since before Christmas and construction debris throughout the house but
NCECA only happens once a year and I knew that stuff would be there when
I get to it.

You do what you can to tread the wire and when the net isn't there you
may discover strength you didn't realize you have when you get across to
the other side and "THE CROWD GOES WILD". Don't get too literal here.
I'm talking about those cheers from within that matter most. External
influences playing in the other rings of the tent just fan the fire.

I've never posted so long but I have to mention my luck having John
Kudlacek (Clayart conection with ties to friends) take me in as a roomie
(Monday before the conference) at the Marriott for the conference and
Janice Weeks as my worthy road trip buddy (and new soul mate). They made
it an exceptional experience. We were able to get together with plans
(email & phone) on Monday and head to Indy on Tuesday. JW and I detoured
to Bloomington for the shows and an expensive visit to The Gallery where
I got a wonderful large Richard Aerni platter and other items for my
colection. I made a second trip to KC from Tulsa 2 years ago after NCECA
and his work was gone from the show so I didn't hesitate this time.

Jim Tabor