this was my second nceca conference, first being last year in philly. i fell in love last year, being surrounded by other clay-people and all of the amazing work i was exposed to, not to mention all of the lectures and demos.
this year i was headed to tampa alone. i referred to it as my independent cerama-vaca. it was great, i took on the conference with only my interests in mind... then of course partied hard with the ever so awesome ceramic community, was introduced to many great people through my professor and good friend, greg stahly. although brief and hazy, these connections are inspiring in themselves as i cant wait to continue to network and keep in touch through the years.
the location cant even compare to last years conference in philly, tampa had some issues, most of the openings being a bus ride away... the conference was a bit too spread out. that would be my only complaint. i definitely got more out of this years conference. the biggest impact on my own work being my one-on-one crit with john gill. what a man. crazy in a very awesome way. i was beyond nervous, but as we sat for 30 mins talking about my work (as i secretly recorded it with my iphone) he basically tore my work apart, (with the occasional... "now this right here, this is working" and "now thats a nice pot" seeing the alt veiw of a pot he had already seen) he got to know me, and pointed out relationships between myself and my work that i hadnt even ever begun to touch on. VERY SMART MAN.
i came back from nceca driven, inspired, and ready for a mature direction change in my work. immediately i got to work. and while clay has always made me happy. for once i had this feeling i had never had before... something beyond excitement.. i made two sets of thrown and altered vessels inspired by the female figure and 1950s high fashion. figuring out the surface design was fairly easy as i knew i wanted to keep it pretty simple, but my need to use my bright color palette fought me on this one. as my bfa crit was approaching i decided to play it safe, and i believe that was a good call... sticking with black and white on these beginning sets was safe but appropriate as well. overall i am completely happy with the outcome. and actually really shocked that nothing tragic happened with glaze malfunction during the firing. the black stain i am using in my black glaze contains cobalt, and when the transparent i am using was applied over top, the cobalt was pulled out and there is a blue haze to all of the pieces. while many people said they love it, and how beautiful it is, this was not my intent, but i will not complain bc this being the only upset i have with the glaze, ill take it. i will agree it is a nice effect and would be beautiful on the appropriate piece, this is not what my forms are calling for. but again, my first attempt at these... pretty successful. :)
my work now has direction, and i feel that is the beginning to making mature work. i see this as a step in the right direction. and a baby one at that... as i plan on pushing these forms and sets so much further.