search  current discussion  categories  philosophy 

home at last, home at last, praise god almighty, i'm home at last

updated sun 25 mar 07


David Hendley on fri 23 mar 07

I am finally back home and rested from my NCECA trip. After the conference,
I spent a few days with Dave McBeth at his university in Tennessee,
demonstrating and talking to his students. With driving times, it turned out
to be a long 10-day trip.

This was definitely the "Clayart NCECA", with our Clayart friends being a
big part of the programs. I think we can thank Clayart founder Joe Molinaro,
the new NCECA programs director, for this presence and for the inclusion of
more sessions of interest to working potters. It was a shame that the two
all-Clayart panels were scheduled at the same time and early on Friday

I have never been busier at a NCECA Conference. I enjoyed getting to know my
roommate Dan Saultman, but he will tell you that all I did in the room was
shower, dress, leave for entire day and evening, and then come in late and
slip into bed. The opening at Janjobe was great fun, and I was proud to be
part of the good-looking show. It was a hard gig as far a playing the
guitar, since the crowd was so large and the acoustics were not the
greatest. Thanks to Nan and Billie for all their hard work on the show. I'm
glad I got to visit with Mel when he arrived late Tuesday night, since I
never got the chance again. Likewise, there are so many of you that I
unfortunately only got a chance to briefly say hi to.

Wednesday morning, I put in an hour or two at the Potters Council booth,
signing up new members, grabbed a quick (except for the 20 minute wait in
line) lunch, and then spent the afternoon at the Potters Council board
meeting. We adjourned and then reconvened at Sully's Irish Pub for dinner. I
was totally surprised when all the current board members presented me with
"farewell pots", as my prolonged term on the board was ending. Thanks so
much to Rikki Gill, Doug Gray, Wayne Seidl, Gregg Lindsley, Captain Mark,
and Nan Rothwell. I have a great feeling about the future of Potters
Council. We signed up quite a few new members at the conference.

Unfortunately, I had to miss most of the Thursday morning programs to
rehearse with my "Studio Potters, Living the Dream" panelists. We were all
determined to present a well-thought out program that would pack as much
information as possible into an hour-and-a-half. Yes, most of the questions
from Donna were planned in advance, but we decided that was better than
leaving it to chance that we would get a bunch of off-topic questions from
the audience. Of course, there would still be some time for audience
questions. Thanks to Donna as well as Dannon and Chris for their preparation
and participation, making the panel a great success. I can't tell you how
many people told me they found it worthwhile - thanks for the compliments.

Unlike most previous NCECAs, I didn't attend any sessions that ended up
being boring recitations of research papers. The sessions on staying
healthy, making your own videos on a home computer, and ceramics as souvenir
were all worthwhile.

All three volumes of my extruding videos were shown in the video screening
room, so I tried to be there for at least the ending of each one, so people
could meet me and ask questions. The audiences were small, about 10-to-20
people, but most seemed very appreciative to have the opportunity to see the
videos. I have to question the notion of watching a DVD while the exhibitor's
hall, simultaneous demonstrations, panels and lectures, and exhibitions are
just steps away, but I guess if it is a topic you are interested in it is a
worthwhile use of time. I never even set foot in the demonstrations room,
and, except for the K-12 and Clayart Shows, didn't see a single show before

Friday was one of the busiest and longest days of my life. Up at 6:00, for
the Potters Council meeting at 7:00 - we have to find a more reasonable time
for these meetings. I left early, to prepare for my 8:30 "Studio Potters"
panel. Considering the early hour and that another panel with Clayart
all-stars Mel, Vince, Snail, and Po was scheduled for the same time, I was
pleased that we managed to half-fill the largest of the lecture rooms. The
audience couldn't have been more attentive. From the panel, I rushed over to
the video room, to catch the end of my video screening - yes, for an hour on
Friday morning, you could have seen my smiling face in two venues at once.

I made a point of sitting next to Ron Roy and John Hesselberth for the Glaze
Technology panel. Considering the company, we found very little to question
from the panelists. We will have to keep an eye on Dave F., however, to make
sure he doesn't continue wearing that tie and cross over to the dark side of
ceramics. This was the best-attended session of the whole week. Generally
attendance was way down at this NCECA. Many of the sessions took place in
absurdly large rooms that were 90% empty. Even the Opening speech by Bob
Edwards and the Randall Session with the bluegrass band were poorly
attended, with the hall more than half empty.

From the glaze session, I rushed over to the "Connections" breakout groups
and "The Artist Takes on Global Warming". I found myself in a group of about
ten 20-year-olds, with no group leader. I told them all the things I do in
my pottery shop to recycle, reduce, and reuse, but I certainly felt I was of
a different generation. Some in the group wanted to start a website about
using fry oil to fire kilns. I told them more than once that there was no
need, that they simply needed to join Clayart and access the archives, but I
don't think it got through.

The Mug Exchange was, as usual, the climax of the fun and camaraderie of the
Clayart Room. I carefully declined requests to help with the exchange, since
I passed it along to others last year. There are always a couple of orphan
mugs, but things went smoothly. I picked a tumbler made by Noel Gilliam, so
it was a pleasure to meet her for the first time. I'm so sorry that there
are so many Clayart friends that I only had the chance to briefly say hi to.

After the exchange, I made it back to Sully's, for the Texas party. The
Texans seemed a little subdued this year, but we were happy to have Marcia
as one of our own, have Taylor attend for the first time, and have Russel,
as an honorary Texan. The best part about attending the glaze lecture with
Ron and John was that they invited me to dinner that evening at the 21st
century museum hotel-restaurant, "Proof". It was a great meal, well worth
the $50 bill, and of course, touring the art-hotel was too much fun. The
last few minutes of the meal was cut short by an urgent phone call from
Stephanie, telling me that the Clayart Room was being liquidated. I rushed
over to retrieve my pot and my briefcase. I hope everyone has gotten all his
or hers pots back by now. My new cell phone proved worthwhile!

From there it was off to the dance. You couldn't have asked for a better
dance band. Thanks to Marcia for putting up with my less-than-graceful moves
for several numbers. By midnight, the dance hall had been almost entirely
taken over by the younger set, so I went back to the Galt House bar for a
last few minutes with Clayart people.

Vince, Dave, and I spent most of the day Saturday going to the shows around
the downtown area. I have to say, this was the most enjoyable group of shows
I can ever remember at a NCECA Conference. Congratulations to all who had
work in the shows. Meeting up with Primal Kelly and Diana and their group
really got things going. I hope we didn't offend too many people, trasping
around the exhibits offering our critiques whether wanted or not. I can only
imagine how this might have appeared to innocent bystanders. I usually have
strong opinions about ceramic work, but I've learned to keep my mouth shut
in public venues. Thanks to Kelly's urgings and group dynamics, I probably
said more than I should have.

We finally got back to Dave McBeth's house after 10:00 Saturday night. Even
after a good night's sleep I was still tired on Sunday. Dave was starting to
feel inadequate because I fell asleep every time I was riding in the car
with him. On Sunday we visited a new art school, just starting in his area
of Tennessee, and an abandoned brick factory with lots of potential kiln
bricks available for the digging. We had lunch at a gas station/barbecue
restaurant in Paris, Tennessee. This was the cheapest food I've seen in
years - the "super family pack", enough for 6 or 8 people, was $11.59.
Believe it or not, it was good barbeque, but it was pork, and we all know
that God intended barbeque to be Texas beef.

It turns out that Dave's school is just 30 or 40 miles from my father's
hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, so we made the trip to Mayfield so I could
visit the gravesite of my grandparents. I never knew them, and had never
been there before. My grandmother died at the age of 21, when my father was
2, and my grandfather died 5 years later, in the 1918 flu epidemic. Talk
about hard times. My mother was also orphaned at an early age, also losing a
parent in the flu epidemic.

At U. Tennessee, Martin I had classes in 3-D design, beginning ceramics and
intermediate ceramics. I felt a little insecure teaching design classes,
since I don't usually do that. I decided to install the square tube die on
the extruder and have the students design something using the resulting
extrusions. I showed them how to shape the clay as it exits the extruder,
and most chose to use this technique for their projects. Monday evening
there was performance by a percussion ensemble at the college, and Tuesday
evening two of the graduating art majors had the opening of their senior
shows. Throw in a shopping trip to "Rural King", and it made for full days
of activities. Thanks to Dave and his family for having me for 3 days.

When I left Maydelle before dawn on March 12, spring was just starting to
make itself known. I left the houseplants in the studio in case a cold front
would come through. I arrived back home to find spring in full bloom! I
harvested a pound of asparagus from the garden and moved the plants outside.
Yellow pine tree pollen has coated everything and the deck is littered with
oak tree tassels.

I'm feeling a little frantic now - back to work! Summer will be over and the
Holiday buying season will be here before you know it!

Apologies to MLK.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas

Kathy Forer on sat 24 mar 07

On Mar 23, 2007, at 3:25 PM, David Hendley wrote:

> Generally
> attendance was way down at this NCECA.

Why would attendance be down? Was it an unconscious protest that the
conference wasn't held in New Orleans as originally planned?

glad not to have gone to NCECA this year though I missed seeing clay
pals. (Yo, hello!) I'd probably have been stranded at the airport and
missed my mother's 85th -- er, 75th -- surprise birthday party on St
Paddy's day. Nothing like a special party for a special person, she's
still high from it.

Kathy Forer

Veena Raghavan on sat 24 mar 07

I understood that the attendance was down because there was another
educators' conference going on at the same time in NewYork. This was because the NCECA
dates were changed slightly because of the change in venue. I did not gather
that it was any kind of protest.


In a message dated 3/24/2007 3:38:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time, kef@KFORER.COM
> Why would attendance be down? Was it an unconscious protest that the
> conference wasn't held in New Orleans as originally planned?

Marcia Selsor on sat 24 mar 07

I was told that Louisville is not a "destination city" where people
would want to visit on vacation.
I find that hard to believe. I thought is was lovely.

On Mar 24, 2007, at 10:41 AM, Veena Raghavan wrote:

> I understood that the attendance was down because there was another
> educators' conference going on at the same time in NewYork. This
> was because the NCECA
> dates were changed slightly because of the change in venue. I did
> not gather
> that it was any kind of protest.
> Veena

Marcia Selsor