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NCECA: Whirlwind Conference Recap & Slideshow

Mark Chatterley's Nave (2010) at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Mark Chatterley's Nave (2010) at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Detail of Chatterly's Nave, created from stoneware with crater glaze.

Detail of Chatterly's Nave, created from stoneware with crater glaze.

Anne Drew Potter, The Captains Congress, 2011, stoneware, wood, acrylic, newsprint; at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Anne Drew Potter, The Captains Congress, 2011, stoneware, wood, acrylic, newsprint; at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Mark Chatterley's Nave (2010) at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Photo gallery (25 images)
Detail of The Captains Congress, which "speaks of the deadly serious nature of role play and peer pressure."

Detail of The Captains Congress, which "speaks of the deadly serious nature of role play and peer pressure."

A single figure sits motionless outside of the circle in The Captains Congress.

A single figure sits motionless outside of the circle in The Captains Congress.

Charlie Cummings, Returning to the Light, 2011, poreclain, earthenware, video projection; on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Charlie Cummings, Returning to the Light, 2011, poreclain, earthenware, video projection; on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Beth Cavener Stichter, Come Undone, 2012, stoneware, mixed media; on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Beth Cavener Stichter, Come Undone, 2012, stoneware, mixed media; on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum during NCECA 2012.

Of Come Undone, Beth Cavener Stichter writes: "A portrait of my secret selves, the archetypal wolf looms larger than life, grown to monstrous size. Full of all the childish notions of the feminine, the wolf finally expels the mass from its gut..."

Of Come Undone, Beth Cavener Stichter writes: "A portrait of my secret selves, the archetypal wolf looms larger than life, grown to monstrous size. Full of all the childish notions of the feminine, the wolf finally expels the mass from its gut..."

A beautiful service by Deborah Schwartzkopf, part of “A Great Place to Make Art,” an exhibition of Seward Park Clay Studio residents and teachers at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

A beautiful service by Deborah Schwartzkopf, part of “A Great Place to Make Art,” an exhibition of Seward Park Clay Studio residents and teachers at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

 Sequoia Miller’s Cityscape/Statdbild, part of “Stepping Back for the Long View,” at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

 Sequoia Miller’s Cityscape/Statdbild, part of “Stepping Back for the Long View,” at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

 Annette Bellamy’s Tripod vases, part of a six-person show of Alaskan artists called “Blooms from the North Country” at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

 Annette Bellamy’s Tripod vasespart of a six-person show of Alaskan artists called “Blooms from the North Country” at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

One of Ben Krupka's pieces in the "National Porcelain Invitational," which was on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

One of Ben Krupka's pieces in the "National Porcelain Invitational," which was on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Audrey Rosulek's porcelain teapot and saucer, part of "Breaking Ground," work from the long-term residents of the Clay Studio of Missoula, presented at the Seattle Design Center.

Audrey Rosulek's porcelain teapot and saucer, part of "Breaking Ground," work from the long-term residents of the Clay Studio of Missoula, presented at the Seattle Design Center.

Audrey Rosulek uses an underglaze pencil to add the distinct surface decoration to her work.

Audrey Rosulek uses an underglaze pencil to add the distinct surface decoration to her work.

Tina Aufiero, thrust, 2012, 53 slip-cast forms, circuits, blue LEd, 9V batteries. The blue lights seem to breathe, rhythmically pulsing bright and then dimming.

Tina Aufiero, thrust, 2012, 53 slip-cast forms, circuits, blue LEd, 9V batteries. The blue lights seem to breathe, rhythmically pulsing bright and then dimming.

Catherine Paleczny, Fin, poreclain; part of "Distillations and Eruptions," five installations on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Catherine Paleczny, Fin, poreclain; part of "Distillations and Eruptions," five installations on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Ben Carter's British Tea Set (Yixing stoneware, poreclain slip, under glaze), part of “The Pottery Workshop: 25 Years of Passion and Education," on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Ben Carter's British Tea Set (Yixing stoneware, poreclain slip, under glaze), part of “The Pottery Workshop: 25 Years of Passion and Education," on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

...And Carter's Chinese Tea Set (Yixing stoneware, porcelain slip, under glaze). The Pottery Workshop is ceramic education and communication center in Hong Kong.

...And Carter's Chinese Tea Set (Yixing stoneware, porcelain slip, under glaze). The Pottery Workshop is ceramic education and communication center in Hong Kong.

Tara Wilson's Basket, part of "LH Project: A Decade of Distinction," on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Tara Wilson's Basket, part of "LH Project: A Decade of Distinction," on view at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Tara Wilson's Flower Brick, also part of "LH Project: A Decade of Distinction."

Tara Wilson's Flower Brick, also part of "LH Project: A Decade of Distinction."

Ryan LaBar, Title to Be Determined #4, part of "LH Project: A Decade of Distinction."

Ryan LaBar, Title to Be Determined #4, part of "LH Project: A Decade of Distinction."

The other side of Ryan LaBar's Title to Be Determined #4. LaBar constructs his work, then places it in the kiln, which, as described in an artist's statement, "conducts the melt and movement of clay and glaze, composing the final system."

The other side of Ryan LaBar's Title to Be Determined #4. LaBar constructs his work, then places it in the kiln, which, as described in an artist's statement, "conducts the melt and movement of clay and glaze, composing the final system."

Jen Allen's lovely table setting, part of "Well Served," an exhibition at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Jen Allen's lovely table setting, part of "Well Served," an exhibition at the Seattle Design Center during NCECA 2012.

Liz Quackenbush's lustrous table for "Well Served."

Liz Quackenbush's lustrous table for "Well Served."

Munemitsu Taguchi's elegant setting, also part of "Well Served."

Munemitsu Taguchi's elegant setting, also part of "Well Served."

We returned from NCECA this week, and we did not come back empty handed – in any sense. I’ve already found uses for my new Alleghany Meadows plate with handle, purchased at the Artstream Nomadic Gallery’s stop at Seattle’s ACT Theatre. American Craft creative directors Mary K. Baumann and Will Hopkins added a Sam Scott mug to their beautiful collection. But the true haul came in the form of ideas and excitement. Here are some of the stellar things we saw:

Push Play: The 2012 NCECA Invitational” at the Bellevue Arts Museum wowed us with its ambitious installations and the scope of work on display. We were greeted by Mark Chatterley’s Nave (2010), an evocative group of stoneware figures who have gathered, stacked upon one upon another, into a kind of contemplative coliseum, their attention turned upon a small rabbit figure on the floor. The idea of scrutiny, and of inclusion and exclusion, returned with Anne Drew Potter’s The Captains Congress (2011), a disquieting group of grotesquely distorted figures passing judgment on an ostracized member. Check out the photos above in the slideshow, because there were so many wonderful works. “Push Play” is up through June 17.

Bonus: We popped into “Knitted, Knotted, Twisted & Twined: The Jewelry of Mary Lee Hu,” an ACC Fellow who was recently the subject of librarian Jessica Shaykett’s Master Class column. Dazzling!

Next stop: The Seattle Design Center. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. We counted 30 some exhibitions, put up just for NCECA, throughout this 390,000-square-foot interior design facility/marketplace. We were immediately taken by a grouping of Deborah Schwartzkopf’s functional work (including a spectacular nested set of mugs, pitcher, sugar, and creamer in the slideshow above), part of “A Great Place to Make Art,” an exhibition of Seward Park Clay Studio residents and teachers. Just around the corner, we encountered Sequoia Miller’s Cityscape/Statdbild, part of “Stepping Back for the Long View.” Miller executed the tabletop grouping during a time of transition, moving from the Pacific Northwest back to his native Manhattan. “My apartment hunt, aided by Google street view and its novel representation of place, became an unexpected source for the work,” he writes.

From there, Annette Bellamy’s Tripod vases, part of a six-person show of Alaskan artists called “Blooms from the North Country,” caught my eye. And the “National Porcelain Invitational” was another stand-out treat, with work from Doug Peltzman, Ben Krupka, Kate Maury, and Nicholas Bivins (a 2012 NCECA Emerging Artist), among others. Bear in mind, at this point we hadn’t hit even half of the exhibitions…

Over in another wing of the SDC, we enjoyed “Breaking Ground,” work from the long-term residents of the Clay Studio of Missoula. Audrey Rosulek’s porcelain teapot and saucer (and mugs with saucers) were favorites, uniquely adorned with underglaze pencil and glaze. Five impressive installations comprised “Distillations and Eruptions,” including striking pieces by Tina Aufiero and Catherine Paleczny. “The Pottery Workshop: 25 Years of Passion and Education” was another great stop, organized by Ben Carter, whose harmonious British and Chinese tea sets (quite coincidentally) were some of my favorite pieces in the show.

Meanwhile, “LH Project: A Decade of Distinction” was a powerhouse, with a truly impressive range of work on display, from Tara Wilson’s exquisite wood-fired ceramic baskets to Ryan LaBar’s spectacularly tangled ceramic constructions. And for “Well Served,” another strong show, organizers (and participants) Julia Galloway and Schwartzkopf gave a full tabletop to 12 artists, including Liz Quackenbush, Jen Allen, and Munemitsu Taguchi.

Back at the Washington State Convention Center, we saw some excellent presentations, panels, and demonstrations, too. Jason Walker, Christa Assad, Tip Toland, and Walter Keeler were fantastic (and terrifically charismatic) as demonstrating artists. As part of the panel “Sustainable Ceramics: Contradiction or Possibility,” David Binns presented his research into (and artistic practice with) recycled ceramics, including his co-development of a mineral-waste-based alternative to traditional construction materials. That might sound a little wonky – but the fused slabs of recycled ceramic and glass were striking, and his curiosity-driven process of discovery, engrossing.

Stefano Catalani (Bellevue Arts Museum) and Gwen Chanzit (Denver Art Museum) gave a lovely “Distinguished Co-Lecture: Curatorial Perspectives,” covering their recent exhibitions, "BAM Biennial 2010: Clay Throwdown!” and “Overthrown: Clay Without Limits” at DAM. The next BAM Biennial, “High Fiber Diet,” opens this October. (Meanwhile, with a recent substantial gift to DAM's textile art department, fiber/textiles look to be cooking there, too.) A final favorite: Janet DeBoos’ wonderful lecture on “Boredom, Repetition, and the Creative Act,” wherein DeBoos reflected on today’s culture of entertainment (more, new, next!), and what seemingly boring activities – such as repeatedly throwing the same form – have to offer, from a pathway to skill to deep states of creativity.

And for the grand finale, on Saturday morning, the six emerging artists (Bivins, Dylan Beck, Chandra DeBuse, Darien Johnson, Peter Christian Johnson, and Matthew McConnell) spoke about their work, before a winning closing lecture by Sandy Simon and Robert Brady.

Sounds great, right? NCECA publishes an annual journal, documenting the presentations, exhibitions, and events at each conference. The next one takes place in Houston, March 20-23. Hope to see you there!

 

Read about three more NCECA 2012 exhibitions at Foster/White Gallery, KOBO Gallery, and SOIL.

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