Vote Naomi!

In case you haven’t already heard, I am pleased to announce that I am running for the position of NCECA Student Director At Large.

As many of you know, community involvement has been, and continues to be integral to my own growth as a student, maker, and educator, so I am eager to help make these experiences more accessible to the next generation of students. I’ve got lots of ideas, and am particularly interested in how to make NCECA more accessible to international students and educators.

To learn more about why I want this job, and why I think I would be good at it, check out this video:

I’m really excited for this opportunity and would be most grateful if you would consider voting for me, and/or sharing my video online to your social networks in the coming weeks.

Voting opens February 1, and anyone who is a current NCECA member (you don’t even have to go to the conference) can vote online — it’s super easy. See below for full details on how to vote.

How to vote:

Elections will open February 1, 2016 and will be conducted via SurveyMonkey. All current members prior to January 29, 2016 will receive an evite to vote. A second round of voting evites will go out after the close of Advanced registration on March 1, 2016. If you joined membership after this date, please notify or to receive your evite. All votes must be cast by 4pm, Friday, March 18, 2016. If you become a member while at conference, please see Candice at registration to get set up for voting.

Summer Happenings…

This has been my grad school motto thus far...

This has been my grad school motto thus far…

So my first year of Grad School is officially all done, and I learned a few things. Which really is a good thing, seeing as how I’m back in school and all…

First off I learned that updating the blog is just not going to happen while I’m in school. Mostly because I’m really busy and have other priorities. Such as eating and sleeping. But also because things are changing so quickly with me and my work, and I simply need time to digest it all. In the studio one minute I think “Eureka! This is IT. I’m really on to something.” Then the next minute, I want to rip it apart. Literally. So I’m going to try and spare you all from the eclectic “hot-mess” that is my studio life, until I feel a little more at home with it.

However, in the mean-time I wanted to let you know of a few cool things I have coming up this summer:

First up is Watershed!!! I am so very thrilled to be one of four artists invited by Martina Lantin and Joshua Hebbert to the first session of the season at Watershed, from June 7-19. The theme for this session is Collective Making, and I will be joined by fellow invited artists Patrick Coughlin, Bryan Hopkins and Elenor Wilson. I’ve always wanted to go to Watershed, and have heard great things about both Joshua and Martina, so I really can’t wait. And, after a year of feeling pulled in so many different directions (studio, classes, teaching, etc.) it is going to be such a treat to have a full two weeks of pure, unadulterated studio time.  I promise to take lots of pictures and post them here when I’m done.

After Watershed, I’m heading up to the Great White North for a visit home. I’m most looking forward to seeing family and friends again, but I’m also really excited to be giving a workshop in my home town of London, Ontario (we have a Thames River and everything).  This two-day, hands-on workshop which is hosted by the London Potters Guild, will be held at the fantastic new London Clay Arts Centre (LCAC). Through the tenacity and vision of its members, after 13 long years, the LCAC is now housed in a guild-owned and operated, state-of-the-art, 7,000 square foot facility in the heart of London’s Old East Village. It is a beautiful space and a fantastic community, and I’m honoured to be giving a workshop there.

Date: Saturday, June 27 & June 28, 2015
Time: 9:30 am to 4:00 pm both days

>> Learn more and register here. 

NCECA Bound!

NCECA Milwaukee

Thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council, I am heading down to NCECA tomorrow! This will be only my second time going, so I’m still a relative NCECA newbie. Last year when I went down to Houston, I barely knew anyone—this year (thanks to all the great people I’ve met through Medalta) it’s a different story. Plus, it’s in Milwaukee this year, which is apparently the beer capital of the US… I’ve never been a huge beer drinker, but I think that might be because I haven’t done enough research. I like research.

If you are going to be there, I am helping out at Medalta’s booth (booth T40 in the resource hall), so stop by and say hi.

A Life Lived

I got the unexpected and very sad news last week that Jackie Seaton, whom I had the great pleasure of working for many years ago, had died. I new he had been battling multiple myeloma for the past few years, but last I heard, he was in remission, so the news came as quite a shock.

Jackie Seaton

Jackie Seaton

Jackie was a salt potter who worked and lived with his wife Joni, just outside of Perth Ontario. I lived with them for two months in 2003 while I worked as Jackie’s apprentice—throwing, trimming, mixing glazes, loading kilns—to help him get ready for the Perth Autumn Studio Tour.

I was fresh out of art school when I worked for Jackie—more ideas than skills in my toolbox. Jackie taught me so many little details about how to be a good potter… too many for me to list here. But it is no stretch to say that I use the skills he taught me in my own practice daily, and would not be the craftsperson I am today without having met him.

Jackie was also a committed activist and fundraiser, and was instrumental in starting up an Empty Bowls fundraiser in Perth. This now annual event has raised over $15,000 already in 2013 for local food programs; for this event area potters make and donate hundreds of bowls, and local restaurants donate soup, and for a mere $20 you get a bowl (which is yours to keep) filled with delicious soup.

Aside from teaching me some of the physical skills of being a good potter, Jackie taught through example what it meant to be a great Craftsperson (yes I intended to capitalize that!). He showed me the value of creating and fostering a community and the importance of getting involved. And, while it may be a cliché, he really does live on through all the people whose lives he’s touched through his pots… I’ve recently started teaching myself, and just last Thursday (the day he died in fact), I was passing on to my students a few of the invaluable tips he’d taught me.

Life really does come full circle.

For any of you who knew Jackie, the family has asked for donations to be made to Empty Bowls

1000 Miles Apart

I was up in Calgary last week for the 1000 Miles Apart conference—it’s an annual student run conference, that alternates locations every year between ACAD, Red Deer College, the University of Regina, and the University of Manitoba.

It was great to get out of the studio for a few days, spend some time in the “big city” and meet new people. Although it meant three full days out of the studio, it was totally worth it—it’s amazing how much you learn from watching someone else demonstrate and talk about their work and influences.

The presenters this year were Sean O’ConnellRyan McKerley and Steve Gorman, and I learned something new from each of them—a new technique here, a new tool there, or a new way of thinking about things.

But now the fingernails are getting too long and it’s time to get my hands dirty again!

SEXSE Time at Medalta

Talk about things starting off with a bang here at Medalta! I have no idea where September went, but I do know that it has been a great month, full of new faces and awesome meals. In addition to the four long-term artists in residence all kicking it off in the studios this month, we had five artists from South East Asia in the studios, headed up by the inimitable Vipoo Srivilasa, a Thai born artist who is now based in Australia. South East Asian artists working alongside artists in South Eastern Alberta (hence the name of our show SEXSE, which I now get to put on my CV!).

Vipoo (who I also had the pleasure of hosting during his stay), invited four other ceramic artists from South East Asia to Medalta for a one month residency.  His prerequisites for choosing the artists were, one, that they make great work, and two, that they be good cooks! Needless to say, it made for an amazing combination in the studios—everyone trying to outdo each other both on the making art and making food side. The artists he invited were Thomas Cheong and Teo Huey Min from Singapore, Krisaya Luenganantakul, from Thailand, and Boon Kiat (James) Seet, of Malaysia. All incredibly talented individuals that I feel lucky to call friends.

As a way of getting us all to work towards a common goal, Vipoo instigated the first ever Medalta International Spoon competition. Here are the results: