Choosing to Look Backwards


I spent some time torn between two very cool conferences coming up this March….NCECA is coming to Philadelphia, which is sort of local to me, and is the big annual celebration of contemporary ceramics with an emphasis on education. I visited the one in Kentucky a few years back and left with mixed feelings… dozens and dozens of great exhibitions all over Louisville. But the actual conference really wasn’t very relevant to my pottery world. And so instead I’ve chosen to head down to Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum to attend the conference with the very long winded title of: “Pottery with a Past: A New Look at Salt Glazed Stoneware Collections, Research and Archeology”! Scholars will be lecturing on the production and distribution of salt glaze from Great Britain, Germany and the US in the early days of America. 

    One of the presenters is Gerd Kessler, whose family made salt glaze pots in the Westerwald area of Germany for generations. Westerwald was a major exporter to the US in the 18th and 19thc. Most of the pots arrived full of foodstuffs. I stayed with Gerd and his wife Rosemary years ago on a trip I took with Toff . I should tell you about that trip one day. (we bought 100 bottles of Sancerre and some of the stinkiest cheese known to man while in France)
   The conference coincides with an exhibition and a book signing for this new book, which Michael Kline recently featured on his blog.
   I think I made the right choice, and I’ll give you a full report when I return. I still have the chance of blasting up to Philly for a day or so if the spirit moves me. It’s just hard to leave the studio.

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