Lillian Thibodeau on tue 22 mar 05
I've just returned from my first NCECA Conference.
Wow! What a terrific time I had.
First, I was so lucky to room with Lois Wilkins, a
generous, friendly, funny Clayart member. I didn't
know her at all before the conference, and at the end
she felt like a sister and best friend. Then, I met
lots of people from the Clayart group and was swept up
in all the group activities, often thanks to Lois and
Lori Leary (people-magnetizers and supreme
The Clayart Room, the conversations, and the
activities that went on there, especially made the
conference rich. The highlight for me was Arnold
Howard's talk on kiln repair. Now I might tackle a
repair with two or three questions and some
confidence, rather than one hundred questions and a
lot of fear. I loved Joe Koons talk, and being able to
examine Mel's and his beautiful bowls. The digital
photography session was also helpful, and although I
am just beginning to think about digital, it moved me
a step forward. I was struck with how kind everyone
was to spend their precious time sharing their
I went with Lois to the Shino show at Baltimore
Clayworks and had the same transportation blues that
everyone else had, but that show was worth it all.
Stunning. The Cone Art one was fun to see, too.
Another show I really enjoyed was LA MESA by Santa Fe
Clay. Their shows always seem to be high quality and
I guess what I found an amazing feat of organization
by NCECA was that Baltimore was full of clay
exhibits--more to see than was ever possible. Just
walking to lunch we could go in and out of galleries
with excellent exhibits--not even taking buses or
I made it to the Keynote address, to Robin Hopper's
panel and to Ron Roy's helpful session. Also saw the
Urban Bush Women, who were much livelier than I was by
that time. Thought the demonstrations were fantastic.
Next year I'll spend more time there and less time
hunting for freebies from the exhibitors.
Needless to say, I'm starting to save my pennies for
next year in Portland. Thanks to all!
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