2012 Outstanding Achievement Award winner Bill Strickland discusses his
love and hopes for Ceramic Arts, Education, and NCECA.
"China is an amazing place to study ceramics… I was fortunate enough to travel there through the support of NCECA’s Regina Brown Undergraduate Fellowship in 2010… As I continue to work in clay (for what I hope will be a very long time) the experiences I had and techniques I learned while studying Qing Hua in Jingdezhen will most certainly be something that I can expand on and learn from."
"I spent three weeks in a remote village called Sirigu, in the North of Ghana, working with local potters. They taught me their traditional hand-building techniques, decorative motifs and firing process. The local tribe of Nankani live in earthen houses that resemble large pots. These women have lived and worked this way for thousands of years, generation after generation. Unfortunately, the knowledge of their craft is now being lost… In Africa, especially this region of the Sahel, all resources are limited. This becomes the determining factor in how people live their lives. There is a time and a place for everything, especially during the dry season, five months with no rain. We pounded clay from the nearby river. It took a day to process a 50lb batch. I was humbled as I watched Ayampoka, the eldest, and Abisboba coil pots at top speed, sliding them, as if on a wheel, across the floor on a bed of red grog.
I went to art school in the West and, therefore, in the privileged position of making art for art’s sake. I explained this to my Nankani friends … that my ceramic work had no particular function, just as decorating their houses did not serve a function. It was an aesthetic choice. The work I was making was the result of inspiration from things I was seeing around me. I was absorbing and processing my experiences of this place and the people who lived here and the everyday things of life. This residency provided me a sense of freedom. I felt excited, playful and unattached to the outcome. It helped me to achieve a method of exploration that I had not had the courage to try in the studio setting. I know this will be a benefit to my growth as an artist in the future. I’m honored to have been a part of it, even for a short time. I have learned so much, not just about the Nankani tribe and culture, but also about myself, my work and my process of creation."
Sharon Virtue, 2010 NCECA International Residency Award, Sirigu Womens Organization for Pottery and Art in Ghana
“It was during my high school senior year in 1992 that I attended my first NCECA conference in Philadelphia. In previous years I partook in several hands-on workshops where I met ceramic enthusiasts throughout Pennsylvania but the NCECA conference opened up a whole new world. I instantaneously joined a diverse community of artists, teachers, technicians and craftspeople. Together we attended conference sessions and exhibitions all over town. Many of the relationships I then forged at NCECA and at subsequent conferences continue to support me as an artist and educator today. It was truly a transformative experience.”
Sharif Bey, PhD
Associate Professor of Leadership and Art Education
"NCECA makes possible a yearly encounter with discovery. It is time to be nurtured and renewed, free of pressures, administrative hassles, studio concerns, or life’s encumbrances and be among kindred souls who are as irresistibly drawn to clay as oneself. NCECA strives to be relevant to every age and taste, whether one is a maker, connoisseur, author or curator. The next best thing to being there is insuring its future by investing in its goals and by contributing to its annual appeal."
"Over the years, NCECA’s influence on American Ceramics has been profound. The annual meetings have been invaluable in sharing technical information, meeting artists, dealers, collectors. The past 30 years has introduced new methods of working as well as innovative directions of “seeing.” NCECA has been the catalyst for a vibrant educational forum, that has enabled ceramics to mature into an expressive and diversified media, as well as attract young talent. Supporting NCECA will insure the health of American Ceramics."