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NCECA was in my city this year! I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, and I am still processing everything I saw/learned/did.

The best part of the whole conference (for me at least) (and excluding seeing Carleton people) was HIDENSEEKAH, an independently organized event on Instagram. You follow @hidenseekah AND the 63 artists that account is following. During the conference 25 different artists posted cryptic picture clues to different locations around downtown Milwaukee. The first person to reach that spot found a piece of work by the artist who posted the picture and they got to keep it! Forever!

This was a really fun event for me. Even though I was born and raised here, and even though I work downtown every day, there were still clues that totally flummoxed me. Not all though! I was extremely lucky to find two pieces!

The first! I saw a clue posted by Joe Pintz (@joepintz). It went up at noon, and I realized immediately that it was the silly red phone booth outside John Hawkes Pub. I ran at a dead run from the convention center, literally gaving myself an asthma attack. But it was totally worth it because when I finally got there and saw something waiting in the booth, I basically lost my mind. From there I ran to Red Arrow Park where a piece by Crystal Morey had yet to be found. I didn’t find that one, but I was there when a girl did. It was so exciting!
Hidenseekah - Joe Pintz
The second! I saw the clue posted by Carole Epp (@musingaboutmud), and from there it was a mad dash to the lake front. I could tell by the stickers that it was at the Art Museum, and from the concrete wall that it’s on the old part of the building. [Side Note: The new section of the museum is the most recognizable. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and is really beautiful and popular. Blah blah blah. The other half of the museum is still great though. It is beneath the War Memorial designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. It is a hulking modernist building overlooking the lake, all angles everywhere. It’s the art museum of my youth and I love it.] I came around a corner and saw the power box with a couple parcels stuffed around it. In the picture below I am sitting on the ground for two reasons: 1. I lost my mind and was so excited I couldn’t stand; and 2. my body said, “Hey pal, you are tired. Sit down. You live here now.”
Hidenseekah - Carole Epp


In both instances, I arrived at the spot the pieces were hidden literally seconds before other people. I think over the course of three days I probably walked/ran 20+ miles around Downtown Milwaukee. At least!

I am so incredibly grateful for this event. I am a public librarian, and I don’t have access to a clay studio. I don’t have a lot of money and I also don’t have work to trade anymore. This was an unparalleled opportunity for me to own extremely wonderful ceramic things that are usually out of my price range. It was also a great opportunity for the 63 participating artists to increase their presence. I’ve been out of clay for a few years now, but now I feel like I can jump back in because I know at least a little bit about what’s going on in the wider community.

If you go to the conference in Rhode Island next year, you MUST hidenseekah!


This year NCECA’s annual conference was held in my hometown of Milwaukee! It happened last week/weekend and it was a total blast. The last time I was fortunate enough to attend was the 2010 conference in Philadelphia, PA. It was so incredible! This conference was just as fantastic. There were so many amazing shows all around town, including one at my library!

NCECA Milwaukee: Material World

This is a bit of the graphic design used for the conference. I like it quite a bit. Image via: NCECA.

I was really worried people wouldn’t like my town. Milwaukee can be rusty and weird. We’re so close to Chicago, which is clearly a bigger better city to go to. Milwaukee often gets bypassed. Who can blame people? I’m glad NCECA wasn’t fooled by Chicago’s mass transit, cultural icons, museums, etc. and decided to come to Milwaukee. We have a lot to offer! Judging by the conversations I had during the conference and all the great photos on Instagram, I think people really liked my city! As usual, my worry was unfounded. The theme of this year’s conference was Material World, which is very fitting for a city that was once a beacon of industry and is now… not. A lot of the downtown/third ward gallery space is former industrial space. Milwaukee is lousy with defunct warehouses and factories. Clay is such a long-lived medium, and a conference of very serious clay folk seems like a great place to talk about some of the bigger issues of clay. Cities are constantly in flux, and the world of clay is as well. I think a city like mine, which is a weird mix of old and new, is a perfect fit for a meeting of the clay community.

There will certainly be a post to follow about HIDENSEEKAH, which was so insanely fun. There were a few really good lectures I attended that I want to write about as well! Lots of fodder!

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Allie has
read 28 books toward her goal of 100 books.

I submitted probably my best baby arm cup (which is not saying much because the glaze was untested and wonky)(and it is the only one I withheld from Shannon), to the NCECA cup sale.  From what I hear, people arrive outside the door at 5am so that they can get the cups they want (3 per person) when the sale opens at 8am.

Lets play FIND the BABY ARM CUP!  Answer after the jump.

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Yowza, yesterday was an awful and awfully long day of travel.  I went to the airport with Julia, John, and Drew at 7:30 even though my flight was at 3:00 pm.  We got to the airport 45 minutes before they anticipated (because we got to use the carpool lane and bypass the traffic) so I had so much time to kill at the airport.  Basically I got about two weeks worth of class reading done.  Anyways, here are some photos of us around the airport in the morning.

This was a game apparently called "Ninja"

This morning I attended a really awesome demonstration by Richard Shaw about silkscreening decals.  Jhanna and I tried to do a little of this last term during the decal assignment (for which Emogene did her clouds that I posted about) but it was only moderately successful.  The most successful was screening directly onto clay, and we never really got the decal part of that off the ground.    Well Richard Shaw (who was so amazing and totally hilarious) gave us some great ideas including printing on newsprint.  The decals we used for the project were on rice paper from China, so we tried using different kinds of thinner papers (iwaki, tissue paper, etc.) but none really worked.   I can’t believe we never thought of newsprint.  Shaw also coated decal paper in gum arabic and then silk screened onto it so that the underglaze would release off the paper!  That is so clever.  I think that was for overglaze decals and requires a thicker kind of paper, but still a great idea.  I am so excited that we will get to try these new techniques when we get back.

The demonstration was also super funny (I thought) because he had to explain a lot about printmaking to the ceramics people.  Suckers!

I should mention that this was a simultaneous demonstration with Kari Radasch, who did some incredible things with hand building and I am so excited to bring those back to the studio.  I really liked her because she just looked totally rad.  Like someone I would be friends with/what my friends will probably look like in 5-10 years.  She was awesome, funny, and real talented.

Jhanna and Alexandra with one of Richard Shaw's silk screened decals on newsprint

In anticipation of NCECA in Philadelphia, I’ve been looking up interesting museums in the area.  Whenever I travel, I look up interesting museums on Roadside America, a repository of goofy roadside attractions all over the US.  All kinds of amazing places like Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron near Baraboo, WI or the Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk in Riverside, IA.

Philadelphia has some great ones that I am just itching to see!  The Insectarium, the Saint in a Glass Coffin, the Museum of Mourning Art, and the Mummer’s Museum.  The one that’s highest on my list is the Chemical Heritage Museum and the Mutter Museum which has a plaster cast of conjoined twins, a giant colon, Grover Cleveland’s tumor, John WilkesBoothe’s thorax, a collection of swallowed items that one doctor removed non-surgically, and a soap woman!  I know we’re spending most of our time at the conference (which I am excited about too, by the way) but I definitely want to take some time to myself to explore the gems that Philly has to offer.

Hello.  My name is Allie and I am a senior studio art major from Milwaukee, WI.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said that in the past 4 years.

Both this blog and this idea of blogging are quite new to me, but I am excited to jump right in.  I plan on using this blog to post about the National Council on Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference in Philadelphia in a few weeks as well as posting about the upcoming throwlympics (an exciting ceramics competition, open to the entire campus).   I don’t have a ton to say at this very minute, but I assure you that won’t last long.


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