CLICK the image above to access the Cultivating Community Symposium

Cultivating Community is a week-long series of pre-recorded and live online content being shared by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. Beginning with the NCECA Members’ Meeting on October 10 and running through October 17, the symposium includes new and recently developed programming. Shared through the same platform that has supported the 2021 virtual NCECA conference, Cultivating Community will focus on practices, ideas, and people working to realize a field that is accessible, inclusive, diverse, and respectful.

Presentations are included by Sharif Bey and Rachel Delphia; Nicolle Hamm, Yuliya Makliuk, Josh DeWeese, Dr. Wendy Gers, and Julia Galloway; Brian Kohl and Nienke Hoogvliet; Aaron Caldwell, Nicole James, and Iren Tete; Syd Carpenter, Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Calvin Ma, Stan Padilla, Ronald Rael, and Fran Sepler.

Advanced registration is required for this autumn 2021 event. NCECA is making this programming accessible at no cost, though donations will be welcomed. As a special bonus, registration includes access to the 2021 conference platform during the symposium’s programming dates.

The past 18 months of the pandemic have introduced us to experiences of isolation that we might not have considered even a short time ago. This has precipitated profound changes in how we create, teach, learn, and share our work. The pace at which new challenges arose and the essential nature of adaptations undertaken in response also engendered re-evaluation and questioning of past approaches. Efforts to substantiate changes in personal practices, as well as in the studios, schools, and organizations in which we work, teach and learn have also become more critical.

Cultivating Community will highlight presenters and issues that are engaging with how to work collectively and effectively through and with ceramic art and education to sustain and generate a field that consistently strives to be more accessible, inclusive, diverse, and respectful.


Participation in the Members’ Meeting and/or the Cultivating Community  Symposium each require a separate registration.


SUNDAY, October 10, 2021     3:00-4:30pm Eastern
This meeting is open to all active NCECA members. Advanced registration is required and now open through October 8, 2021. Visit this LINK for the Members’ Meeting agenda

Members are NCECA’s foundation and reason for being. Ceramic artists and educators working with clay as a medium of artistic expression established NCECA in 1966 to create a sense of connectedness where there had once been isolation. Ever since, NCECA’s members have worked individually and collectively to create and sustain a network of camaraderie and knowledge sharing. The past 18 months have been marked by challenges and hardships. Among these has been the loss of opportunities to safely gather in person. Like many others, NCECA members have developed innovative ways to connect and continue supporting one another through this extraordinary time to benefit the ongoing development of the field.

This second Virtual NCECA Members’ Meeting provides an opportunity for NCECA Members to connect and hear from NCECA leadership about work being undertaken to address challenges and opportunities of these changing times. Members can bring questions or concerns to the board directly in a Q&A session following the meeting.


MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2021 –

MONDAY, October 11, 2021           10:00am Eastern
Making Cups with Calvin Ma
Join artist Calvin Ma as he guides us through his entire creative process from his studio based in the Bay Area.
In this video Calvin Ma demonstrates the step-by-step process of the creation of two of his beautifully designed cups. We follow Calvin from the initial slip casting through detail oriented glazing and firing as he works with his remarkable studio assistant Rocket to complete these unique pieces donated to the 2021 NCECA Virtual Exhibition & Cup Sale.

Calvin Ma is a ceramic sculptor born and raised in San Francisco, California. He received his BA in Industrial Arts from San Francisco State University and MFA in Sculpture from the Academy of Art University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally; his most recent solo exhibition Blend In: The Little Things took place at the Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco.

TUESDAY, October 12, 2021          10:00am Eastern
NCECA Green Task Force | Dig It – Wild Clay
The NCECA Green Task Force is delighted to share Dig It – Wild Clay, a webinar where three practicing artists present their research and studio practice using wild clay.

Please join Josh DeWeese (Director, International Wild Clay Research Project), Nicolle Hamm (artist, USA), and Yuliya Makliuk (artist & environmentalist, Ukraine), for an informative and inspiring journey into global geology, sustainability research, and mindfulness. Moderated by Dr. Wendy Gers and Julia Galloway.

Josh DeWeese will be presenting on his ‘Wild Clay” project rooted in Bozeman, Montana. “Harvesting local ceramic materials as a subject of research touches on many areas of study such as geology, chemistry, and the history of indigenous cultures around the world. It is the history of world ceramics. In this modern age of convenience, the wisdom derived from harvesting materials from the earth has been derailed and there is a disconnect with this facet of consciousness. Developing a practice of using local materials can open up a new sense of understanding and lead to new directions in your work.” (USA).

Nicolle Hamm will share her research on mining practices and shipping processes of clays used at her school. “As a potter, clay mining operations and distribution are major concerns when considering the sustainability of a ceramics practice. This ongoing research investigates how dry materials are mined and how far they travel to reach the ceramics department at the University of Montana in Missoula. This presentation focuses on domestic mining in the U.S. with C & C Ball Clay and Minspar 200.” (USA).

Yuliya Makliuk will present her environmentally thoughtful studio practices. “I pay close attention to ceramics’ lifecycle in order to minimize my footprint: from clay extraction to energy use to packaging and shipping. I can often be seen digging for local wild clays, crashing glass bottles to recycle into glaze, or hunting for post-consumer shipping boxes at a local post office. A % of profits from sales goes to local nature preservation projects.” (Ukraine)

WEDNESDAY, October 13, 2021   10:00am Eastern
Syd Carpenter, An Artist’s Journey
Join Syd Carpenter as she discusses the unique places we call our own and the history of African American Farms and Gardens.

Syd Carpenter is a sculptor working primarily in clay. Her work is included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Michener Museum and the Fuller Craft Museum. She is a professor of studio art at Swarthmore College.

WEDNESDAY, October 13, 2021   10:00am Eastern
Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Curator for the 2022 NCECA Annual exhibition, Belonging
Produced in cooperation with the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, the 2022 NCECA Annual exhibition, Belonging will run February 20-May 8, 2022. A New York and Los Angeles-based curator, writer, and arts administrator of contemporary art and craft, Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy‘s current research focuses on the subversive power of humor, cuteness, and leisure as tools of protest.

Vizcarrondo-Laboy’s vision for the exhibition…
A sense of belonging implies an affinity or connectedness with a place, social or cultural group. Belonging is survival. It is a powerful feeling that shapes our identity. While achieving a sense of belonging is fulfilling when realized, it can be a laborious and even painful endeavor otherwise. Belonging strongly signifies spatial relationships, from navigating new territories to remaining rooted in formative places long vacated. Efforts to balance attachments to past and present spaces may evoke nostalgia and dissonance. Many also seek a connection to their ancestors and their land despite distance. Voluntary and involuntary migration has profoundly impacted millions’ sense of belonging through disrupted lineages, loss of material culture and narratives, and disconnection from land. Belonging explores the intangible and tangible approaches we engage in developing and maintaining our sense of connectedness across time and space. Belonging also relates to ownership or possession, an interpretation that has caused much harm to humans, non-human species, and natural resources. This exhibition seeks to upend normalized power dynamics by prioritizing humans’ desire to belong to something instead of things belonging to them.

Amplifying the voices of BIPOC artists is central to Vizcarrondo-Laboy‘s practice. She serves as Assistant Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York where she has helped the curatorial team organize over twenty exhibitions since 2016, including 2021’s Craft Front & Center. She also oversees MAD’s Burke Prize, a prestigious contemporary craft award.

THURSDAY, October 14, 2021       4:005:30 pm Eastern
NCECA Green Task Force | FLOW: Ceramics, Water & Community Impact
This co-lecture on sustainability focuses on water conservation and preservation in the ceramics field with Brian Kohl from Riverside, California, representing the NCECA Green Task Force and Nienke Hoogvliet sharing her research project in the Netherlands on sewage waste in partnership with the Dutch Water Authorities.

Brian Kohl is an Assistant Professor of Art at Riverside City College, serves on NCECA’s Green Task Force, and was the Communications Director for NCECA 2009-2013. The imagery and inspiration for his ceramic objects and installations evolved from experiencing the impact of water issues apparent to an artist guiding whitewater.

Studio Nienke Hoogvliet is a design studio for material research, experimental and conceptual design. They see design as a tool to shape new perspectives to contribute to a more holistic world. Their projects have been exhibited worldwide in institutions like Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum.

THURSDAY, October 14, 2021       6:00-7:30pm Eastern
Student-Focused Community Discussion | Ins and Outs: Moving Forward in Your Career
Whether you have just completed a degree, an apprenticeship or are a self-taught artist, this community discussion with current and recent students will shed light on some of the “next steps” to pursuing a career in ceramics. Join moderator Nicole James, a current graduate student at Florida State University, Iren Tete, sharing an insider’s view on navigating residencies and Aaron Caldwell sharing thoughts on effective strategies for marketing yourself.

Nicole James is currently a Master’s in Fine Arts candidate for Studio Art at Florida State University. Her work utilizes video, digital software, and archival material to examine the performative acts of identity, content virality, and constructed fictions surrounding womanhood, whiteness, and the duality of occupying positions as oppressor and oppressed.

Iren Tete is an artist originally from Sofia, Bulgaria who is currently based in Gainesville, FL. Tete is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Florida and was recently Visiting Faculty in Ceramics at the Alberta University of the Arts in Calgary, Canada. She earned an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2019.

Aaron Caldwell received his BA in studio art from SIU Carbondale, and is completing his MS in Art Education from Illinois State. He was chosen as a 2021 Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist, and organizes for Queeramics, a platform dedicated to bringing visibility/opportunities to queer ceramicists.

FRIDAY, October 15, 2021              5:00-7:00pm Eastern
Fran Sepler, Cultivating Creative and Respectful Workplace Cultures
Fran Sepler will conduct a presentation on creating and sustaining respectful workplace cultures. The session will focus on the cultural attributes of psychological safety, respect, and fairness and identify concrete steps that organizations can take to improve their climate and organizational performance. This presentation would involve both lecture and interactivity, such as a review of case studies in break-out groups.

For thirty years, Fran Sepler has assisted public and private organizations throughout the country create comprehensive initiatives to understand, prevent, identify, investigate, and remediate misconduct in the workplace and the academy. This has included hands-on leadership development and implementation of large scale culture-based initiatives focused on creating psychologically safe, respectful workplaces.

SATURDAY, October 16, 2021       12:00noon-1:30pm Eastern
Sharif Bey and Rachel Delphia, Sharif Bey: Excavations
Artist Sharif Bey and Curator Rachel Delphia discuss Excavations, Bey’s new project at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Sharif Bey: Excavations presents new works by Sharif Bey inspired by the artist’s ‘excavations’ of the museum collections that first piqued his interest as a youth visiting Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. On view are mask-like forms, necklaces made from pinch pot-style vessels as beads, and site-specific temporary installations that incorporate Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s broad collections of artifacts and specimens. By returning to these spaces with the eye of a mature artist, Bey offers visitors a glimpse into the self-reflective nature of his artistic practice. Objects he encountered from West Africa such as a Guinean D’mba headdress and a Kongo Nkisi nkondi power figure continue to hold sway over his work in recent years. While Bey celebrates the themes of these objects, such as power, ritual, motherhood, community, and the awesomeness of nature, his work also touches on modern questions such as “Who has creative agency? Who gets to speak through an artistic platform?” Sharif Bey: Excavations is organized by Rachel Delphia, Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, with Alyssa Velazquez, Curatorial Assistant for Decorative Arts and Design, and Kiki Teshome, Margaret Powell Curatorial Fellow.

Sharif Bey is an Associate Professor at Syracuse University. Bey studied sculpture at The Academy of Fine Arts and Design-Bratislava, Slippery Rock University and received his MFA from the UNC-Greensboro. Inspired by modernism, pottery and Art of the African diaspora, his work is featured in public collections throughout the U.S.

Rachel Delphia is the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Her recent curatorial projects include Extraordinary Ordinary Things and Sharif Bey: Excavations. She holds a BFA and MA degrees from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Delaware.

SATURDAY, October 16, 2021       6:00-7:30pm Eastern
Stan Padilla, The Earth is our Mother: We Are All Connected Through Clay
A provocative presentation from northern California artist and activist Stan Padilla. This talk will be grounded in ancient wisdom about the nature of clay in building community, sustaining culture and healing social justice.

Stan Padilla is an Indigenous/Chicano multi-media artist, native educator/mentor and cultural activist. He has been using art and creativity as an antidote for social injustice. Stan maintains a 13-acre rural sanctuary studio for the development of his arts. “I have a passion for knowledge and understanding, sovereignty, liberation, breaking the chains of colonialism. I have asked my art to help me tell a story.”

SUNDAY, October 17, 2021            10:00am Eastern
Ronald Rael, Rasquachando!
Rael will discuss how an expanded understanding of the borderlands has fostered experimentation, play, and clay in Mexico and the USA.

Ronald Rael, draws, builds, writes, 3-D-prints and teaches about architecture and craft as a cultural endeavor deeply influenced by a unique upbringing in a desolate alpine valley in southern Colorado. As the San Francisco Chronicle writes, “[Rael’s] imagination is audacious. He speculates on the implications of the border wall, building with mud and using 3-D printers to create buildings” — as seen in his books Borderwall as Architecture, Earth Architecture, and Printing Architecture. Rael is a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and is a founding partner of the Oakland based Make-Tank, Emerging Objects. You can see his drawings, models and objects in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Registration for this autumn 2021 event will be provided at no cost, though donations will be welcomed.