NCECA in Review (Providence 2015). Wednesday 25th March.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to NCECA. My very first NCECA. It blew me away -- I saw incredible work and met incredible people. I've never met so many potters/ceramicists. It felt like I was getting inducted into a long lost family; a GIANT long lost family. I feel it is my duty to share my experience with you and put up lots of pictures of the ceramics that I was lucky enough to see.

There are far too many pictures for one post, so I'm going to split it up into the three main days I was there. I have attached a link to the artists website in the captions underneath the pics: just click on their name and it should open a new window.

Being from England, I had never been close enough to go to the conference before, but this year the location was perfect: Brooklyn is only a three hour bus ride from Providence. So I booked the time off work and struck out, back-pack full of pots, excited but unsure of what it was going to be like. I chatted to a board member upon arrival who told me that I must be very selective as there is far too much to see; to plan my time carefully. He advised me that Wednesday afternoon was a good time to go out into town and see some of the exhibitions scattered around. I took his advice and headed to MECA, the Maine Alumni Show. Lovely work. I only took a few pictures but here they are anyway:

Sam Thompson, Wood Fired Bottle, 2013 ($100).

Sheri Inez Kotowski, Ceremonial Tea Bowl IX, Pit Fired, Non-Functional ($400).

Adrian King, Canister Jar, Stoneware, 2012 ($200).

Marian Baker, Two Teabowls, Porcelain, ($90 set).

Matthew McGovern, 1997, Vase, Porcelain ($190)

From here I stumbled into a little café with an interesting tile exhibition downstairs and a more conceptual exhibit by an Indian artist upstairs.

untitled, ceramic, David Allyn & Xander Marro

No Smoking 1-3, David Allyn, Porcelain.

No Smoking 2, David Allyn, Porcelain.

Is This Sci-Fi Enough for You? Ceramic, Harrisson Bucy & John Wyand and Joan Wyand

Drunkards Path, Ceramic Underglaze, Oxides, Muffy Brandt & Nidal Fakouri.

Follow me upstairs...

One over two, Two over one, Ashwini Bhat, Anagama fired stoneware, text from "Burning Towers, Standing Wall," by Forrest Gander.

One over two, Two over one, Ashwini Bhat.

One over two, Two over one, Ashwini Bhat.

One over two, Two over one, Ashwini Bhat.

Rings of Saturn, Anagama Fired Stoneware, Ashwini Bhat.

Next up, I saw the offerings of La Mesa. I spent quite a while here. It was a stunning array of work from serious potters across the states. The pots were selling fast, but thankfully they just marked those that had sold and left them out for viewing. To my surprise, everyone picked the pots and sculptures up to examine them. You could tell the crowd was all potters: we simply must see the bottoms! What did they do with the bottom of the pot? Why is that so fascinating?

Sharlene Valenzuela

After spending awhile at La Mesa, time was wearing on, so I made my way back to the Conference Centre to see the opening lectures. I have to say I found the keynote speaker a tad disappointing. Frederick Douglass Opie was very knowledgeable, but not really a pottery person. It was interesting but lacked the sense of honesty that the rest of the conference exuded. I will admit though that I fell asleep, so cannot give a full review.

The other introductory talks were good though and the music afterwards was excellent: Ethel -- a group pushing the boundaries of string instruments -- played an exuberant set ranging from their own arrangements to interpretations of classics such as Kashmir. It was certainly in keeping with the “Lively Experiment” theme and the audience seemed to appreciate the sounds on display. Afterwards I went home, put on some Miles Davis, ran a bath and studied my programme guide, circling the next day's necessities. Thursday looked like it was going to be very busy.