Wow NCECA! What a happy group of people that is! What a blessing to be around that many people who are so genuinely excited and enthusiastic about what they do. It reminds me of what my friend Stacy asked me one time: Aren’t we just so lucky to have this thing we call clay? Hell yeah! You could feel the love.
OMG could you even believe that resource/exhibition hall? Get out of town, well no stay in it, cuz it was so awesome.
Exhibit space: I was awed by ann airstream trailer right in the middle of the hall filled to the gills with some of the most amazing work you ever did see! And that was only the beginning of it. The emerging artist area featured the innovative and evocative work of Renee Brown, Mel Griffin and Lauren Mabry among others. Renee Brown: What is she doing there? Wow! Lauren Mabry: Love those smooth colors, the weight and heft of the forms… so satisfying. Mel Griffin: I love me some mosaic work and the whole drawing on the clay thing. I like how she left the mosaic panels in large pieces she could ship them independently but hang them as one. Darn good idea.
The vendor exhibit: What? All those manufacturers and vendors all there in person with their sample test tiles and free glaze samples? It was a dream come true. I went in there with a short list of a few things I wanted to discover and the aspiration to find at least one thing to love that I never knew existed before. Done and done! Tools galore! Hand carved clay tools. Paint brushes in shapes and sizes you cannot find in the stores. Decals. Gold LUSTer decals. Clay suppliers with their sample tiles that you can look at, smell, and feel! We clay people like to feel – to hold it in our hands to get a read on something. A photo on a webpage is not the same thing. At all. And that is what we usually get since actual clay & ceramic supply stores are few and far between. You cannot just run out to the local store and get this sort of stuff. So that makes it a big deal. Particularly to me, earth sign, Taurus.
School and Program tables: Then there was ample room devoted to the art schools and residency programs peddling their BFA, Grad School and Residency Programs. Nice to know what is out there. Do people with young children really do things like this? I suppose some do…
Performance art showcase: Mind opener. Hello. Performance art with clay? I saw it with my own eyes. One woman filled a wooden boat with clay lemons she cast on the spot. You should have seen how excited she was about it. She really had to do it! Another mujer was making big elaborate clay masks over the tops of people’s actual heads. And the drink-your-coffee-out -of-the-lightly-fired-terracotta-cup-and-then-smash-it-against-a-wall-when-you’re-done-performance? That was my favorite. Mine smashed real good. I’m a good clay cup smasher. Yes, I am.
The gentleman demonstrators were fascinating as well. How do those twin artists work together like that? It is uncanny. And they (Kelly & Kyle Phelps) were scaling it back for us so we could see them work clearly. Usually they work on the same piece at the same time. Now that is connection!
NCECA Flow invitational exhibit at MAM: Radical. Loved it. Might never look at clay the same again. Total cherry.
Now all of that was enough to wear me quite thin, however, I hope to fit in a visit or two to other galleries with ceramic work in the week to come. If I can find an ounce of energy left in me.
Amazing experience. Thanks NCECA!