I have been back from NCECA for a while, and I am still digesting the entire experience. To start – experiencing the trip to Milwaukee via train was good and bad – good in the sense that the landscape was amazing, traveling the United States this way was great to experience the change-up between states, the sights and landscapes. Unfortunately it was bad for one main reason trains are never on time. We ended up so behind on the time schedule, that me and Les Manning barely made the opening reception. I had the privilege to travel with Mr. Manning. I am thankful he came with me, the company and the stories he brought made the trip something more.
On our way to Milwaukee
When we finally arrived Thursday night, Theaster Gates commencement speech started the conference on the right foot, stating how we should all create and urge all types of ceramic community initiatives, away from races and monetary basis’ . The next day my brain exploded with ceramic overload, how have I stayed away from this experience for so long? My day started with taking care of the Medalta booth, which created an awareness of each business, school and residency within the ceramic community. Ceramic advertising and promotion were key in the hall, but conversations were almost always ongoing, past friends chatting, students looking for information on the next adventure and ceramic artists looking to promote their prospective schools. While businesses were there, from tools to glazes to kilns, I believe the main aspect I looked for was artist to artist communication.
One of the main features or presentation I was looking forward to while at the conference, was the “Virtual Clay” symposium where Carole Epp, Ben Carter, Micheal Kline and Adam Field discussed the pro’s and con’s of the virtual world of clay, through the use of online social sites ( Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to name a few), selling work online and creating a digital presence. This event was a short introduction to the possibilities of being an online entity, something artists need to evolve into. Each artist I mentioned had their own perspective to the virtual world. Carole Epp started a blog within the accumulation of information on artists, events and other purposes in ceramics, thus starting her virtual community. She emphasized that the virtual model focuses the attention of artists and the public on connecting between the two groups. Kline concentrated on the virtual worlds stimulus and inspiration in his own work.. The blog, for him is narrative- more of a promotion of the work but also creates pride of the effort involved and the results gained. Adam related his experience of the digital to showing his artistic workshop, the journey and his inspirations. The knowledge gained with the documentation of his experiences and creation is what he tries to push most of all. Ben Carter was the head of the group discussion and thus was guiding the group along through the topics of the digital world for ceramic artist. The main idea I took away from this symposium, other than the importance of being digital, is that CONTENT is the character of your digital presence. Ideas and perspective are passed on through imagery and the dissemination of ideas.
One moment that sort of touched me was when Aaron Nelson met up with Wayne Ngan- one of Aaron’s mentors I believe http://instagram.com/p/l5D4AzSX48/ The smile that came off both these ceramic artists was amazing Mr. Ngan was great to be around and the presence still so cheerful and cracking jokes, a positive presence that made me smile.
Another moment that sort of surprised me was when I ran into the NSCAD crew, and former professors Neil Forrest and Rory MacDonald. I actually ran into Rory while walking around downtown Milwaukee imaging my surprise…. But we always seem to do that, run into the other person at the most important times. The NSCAD crew and the professors reminded me where I came from and why I belong in this field. It was great to see also the NSCAD crew and Medalta crew mingling over the time of NCECA. Have to shout to Linda Swanson and Concordia ceramic folks, Rachel de Conde for the little gift she sent me. Bridget Fairbank and the NSCAD crew. Aaron, Naomi, Jenna, and Shane. The Medalta crew at NCECA, had a great time to be there with you guys. AND a big shout out to Carole Epp- thanks for getting in touch with me and talking for a time.
NCECA was over too fast- did I not already say that. I know more could have been done, talked to more artists about their work and concept, and generally mingle more… But now I know how it is going to be and how to “attend” an NCECA- go nuts and never sleep…. Talk later!