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Studio Update: NCECA Week and the Big Studio Push 3/16 - 3/30/24

NCECA time!!! Recently I was thinking about what people's yearly calendars align themselves around and in many ways ours( IUS Post-Baccs) starts and resets with NCECA. From the moment last year's NCECA ended in Cincinnati, we were set to action on how to fundraise and get ourselves to this years NCECA in Richmond, Virginia. A year of planning, multiple throw-a-thons, sales, hotel searches, and logistics later we arrived in Richmond. For those of you that don't know, NCECA stands for National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. It's a ginormous clay conference hosted once a year in a different US City. The conference has about 6,000 plus attendants, days of educational demos, lectures, pottery sales, tool sales, booths for grad programs and residencies, concurrent exhibitions throughout the city, nightly bar crawls, pottery pop ups, and lots and lots of networking. You meet people you've admired for a long time in the field of the ceramics and you get to see past ceramics friends that have sense moved on to other cities. It's exhausting, exhilarating, and leaves your feeling so ready to start making new work. This year I had work excepted into the NCECA Student Juried Show so I had driven up my piece a week or two before to get installed into the Richmond Visual Arts Center. Some of us stopped by to see the show before the opening reception and I was blown away by how amazing all the work was. I suddenly felt a mix of embarrassment ( imposter syndrome took place for just a moment) and also incredibly proud that my work gets to stand alongside such great pieces. I got a free catalogue at the conference center because of this show and it was so cool to find my work in it. My first publication! Some highlights from the week were seeing Paul Brigg's demo on pinched forms, finding some new artists to admire like Rice Evans and Anika Major, a packed opening reception for the show I'm in, and supporting my studio-mate, Max, during their show reception.

I had to stay behind another day after everyone left so that I could de-install my work after the show was done. My roommate/ studio-mate, Kade HB, stayed behind with me so we could tag team the drive back home. We stayed in a hotel about an hour and a half outside of Richmond until it was time to pick up my work, because it was so much cheaper. We pretended it was a 5 star hotel and took time to rest and relax. We sat in the hot tub streamed shows on the tv and looked at all of our NCECA finds. I think that this was honestly better rest than what we would have gotten back home because there was no guilt for not immediately getting into the studio, and boy did we need that. We decided to drive straight back home after picking my work up at 5pm the next day, and 9 hours later, 1 suspected alien sighting in west Virginia, some creepy gas stations, and many podcasts later, we made it home. Time to start planning how to get to next year's NCECA in Salt Lake City.

The week after NCECA I got to work on a big sculpture. I told my studio mates that if they see me starting to make any functional work any time soon to smack my tools out of my hand. There are a couple goals I have for this sculpture. I want to fire it in the big bailey kiln as I only have experience firing electric kilns for my work. I have also never built this big before, and I think it will be an exciting challenge. I want to take what I've learned from decorating small functional ware and translate that knowledge onto something larger. Molly had the great idea to build it in separate parts for ease of transporting as well as structurally helping it survive the firings.

Image 1: Me and my professor, Brian Harper, standing by my work

Image 2: My work at the show

Image 3: Kade during our relaxation hotel day. They are in bed with a pop tart and their new clay tools!!!

Image 4- 11: Some work that I really liked from NCECA

Image 12-13: The start of a sculpture that I am currently working on

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