Ceramic students at NCECA
The National Council of Education for Ceramic Arts (NCECA) showcased Sierra Nevada College alumni and faculty as a part of their 50 year anniversary celebration
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Thousands of ceramic artists gather together annually to showcase their work and learn new techniques at the National Council of Education for Ceramic Arts (NCECA).
This year, the event was held from March 16 to March 19 in Kansas City, Missouri. Six-thousand people came to see what this year had in store. Four Sierra Nevada College students and two SNC alumni, accompanied by Art Professors Sheri Leigh O’Connor and Rick Parsons, attended the event to further their ceramic skills and display their current works.
“The great thing about conferences is that they are focused on one topic or material. They show the students how diverse something can be when it is focused on by a large group,” said Parsons. “Students are exposed to functional pottery forms and clay-based performance art.”
Parsons, along with his students and O’Connor, took on NCECA with full force by exploring every area of the event.
“NCECA is a very welcoming community that inspired me and opened my eyes to new ways of conceptual thinking,” said Senior Collyn Aubrey. “I also picked up new tools and techniques to better my skills with ceramics.”
By submission, 50 students from a pool of hundreds of applicants were chosen to showcase their work at the event. Among the 50, two of SNC’s alumni were featured, Mike Ballew and Molly Allen.
They were given notable mention and will be featured in ceramics magazines.
“It was neat to see a piece of mine in a professional setting,” said Alumni Michael Ballew. “There were so many great pieces from different students as well as professional works around the conference.”
NCECA welcomes students from colleges around the country and allows them to meet fellow ceramic students as well as professional artists.
“This particular event really gives individuals an opportunity to interact with other ceramic students as well as professionals we look up too,” said Senior Ian Weiczorek. “This is my third time attending NCECA, and I always walk away with new knowledge and friends.”
This year’s conference marked the 50 year anniversary of NCECA, and in honor of the milestone, they held a show featuring 50 women prominent in the field of ceramics and their work..
Fine Arts Chair Sheri Leigh O’Connor was displayed in the center of the room.
Her collection of works, entitled “Kentucky Fired Ceramics,” consisted of ceramic guns, bullets, and various other utensils that looked as though they were battered, dipped and deep-fried.
This idea was originally sparked when O’Connor traveled on her bi-annual trip to Japan.
She came across odd Japanese toys that had a surface that resembled fried chicken. Her pieces make a connection between the fast food industry and gun control issues.
“It shouldn’t be as easy to obtain guns as it is to get fast food,” said O’Connor. “It was a special honor to have my work in this historic show, and I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of talented and interesting women.”
Parsons was also featured at NCECA in a show produced by Anderson Ranch, an artist residency in Aspen, Colorado, which he was previously a part of prior to teaching at SNC.
“At NCECA students get to see a diverse ceramics community that focuses on clay objects, glazes and the tools used to manipulate this material,” said Parsons.
The Ceramics department is already planning on attending next year’s NCECA in Portland, Oregon.
The Clay Club on campus continues to expand, and new students are always welcome to join and attend educational events such as NCECA.