Ceramics NCECA

Ceramics NCECA

Heroes, Icons, History and Memory:

Dan Hammett, conference chair

It was such an honor to be your on site chair. There were many individuals who graciously contributed their time and energy to the conference. On behalf of the Texas community it was such a pleasure to welcome you to Texas. Each NCECA conference has a central theme, ours being Heroes, Icons, History, Memory. The history of NCECA is recorded with the works of its members. You are the most important record of its history. Chairing this conference is my way of repaying my years of wonderful memories. Giving of oneself to the organization, is a great way to honor it. After all, if you're not careful, you too might be an on site chair someday.

Hopefully this conference allowed the visual icons of our organization to become more visible and accessible to all of us and especially to the students. This was clearly marked by the Honors and Fellows exhibition at the Modern in Sundance Square. What a jewel! In honoring our fellows we honored ourselves. The images you had the opportunity to view in each of the 40 exhibitions during the conference should have clearly told you that ceramics is alive and well in Texas.

I personally would like to thank the University of Dallas, the Art Department, and my students for allowing me to share my time with you... In organizing the Conference from a local level. Special thanks to my wife Sheryl and Nathalie Souedian, my incredible assistant for the conference. Thanks also to FigDesign for the chance to revisit some of the conference exhibits through this web site. You all were a Godsend!

We regret that we are unable to represent all of the artists who participated at NCECA '98 on this site, but hope that the randomly selected works we show will offer a sense of the vast talent that was present. There were two exhibitions that are not shown on this site that deserved a special recognition: The first was the show at the Dallas Museum of Art, "Clay Traditions". The transition of the integrity and quality from one generation to the next is beautiful. Secondly for the first year the 1st K-12 National Juried Exhibition. The quality of tomorrow's generation is truly remarkable.

NCECA 1998, Fort Worth / Dallas Ex-Onsite Conference Chair Dan R. Hammett

P.S. If you think that NCECA should make this type of post conference information available on a designated web site please let NCECA know. Contact the office at NCECA, or call 1-866-266-2322.

Clay Traditions

This exhibition appears in conjunction with the National Council of Education in the Ceramic Arts' (NCECA) 32nd annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas, March 25-28, 1998.  The NCECA conference theme, "Heroes, Icons, History, and Memory," and the overall mission of the organization to promote ceramic education inspired the concept.

The tradition of teaching is woven through the history of ceramics.  Teachers mentor their students, passing down ceramic traditions to the next generation.  These teachers function as guides, providing examples of what can be accomplished over a lifetime.  Though the teacher and artist roles require different characteristics, the instructors in this exhibition have been able to combine the two successfully.  These two generations of artists provide a cross section of contemporary work in clay.  The educators in the exhibition teach at a variety of institutions including state and private universities, art schools, community colleges, craft centers and high schools.  Each has made a meaningful contribution to the tradition of teaching clay.

Lee Akins
Professor of Art
Collin County Community College
Plano, TX

Aileen Horan
Head of Family Education & Community Programs
Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, TX

Five Generations of Native American Pueblo Works

At the turn of the century, San Ildefonso Pueblo potters Maria Martinez and her husband, Julian rediscovered the process of making black pottery. Maria’s legacy continues in the work of Adam and Santana (her son and daughter-in-law), Anita Martinez (her granddaughter), Barbara Gonzales (her great-granddaughter) and Robert Gonzales (Barbara’s husband) and their four sons Cavan, Aaron, Brandan and Derek Gonzales (her great-great-grandsons). They are known for their traditional black on black pottery with “well formed shapes, careful finishes and skillful designing techniques.”

Maria Martinez is the most famous Native American artist. Maria was born sometime around 1887 at San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico and lived until 1980. She became a legend in her own lifetime for her magnificent burnished black pottery. She made beautiful pots including polychrome, black on red and black on black. She is known for her especially fine polish of the black pots, a style that she was responsible for reviving. The designs, however were not usually painted by Maria but first done by her artist husband Julian, than by her daughter-in-law Santana and later by her son Popovi. The famous feather design and the pueblo water serpent were first adapted by Julian as a pottery design element. These two designs have become synonymous with Pueblo Pottery and are used today by many Pueblo Potters.

During Maria’s long pottery career she used many different signatures: Marie, Marie & Julian, Marie & Santana, Maria & Popovi and Maria Poveka (various spellings). Maria began signing her pottery in 1923 “Marie”, a name that was suggested to be more familiar to her buying public. “Marie & Julian” began appearing around 1925 and continued until Julian’s death in 1943. Working with her daughter-in-law, Santana, she signed her pots “Marie & Santana” from 1954-1956. In 1956 she began working with her son, Popovi and those pieces were signed “Maria & Popovi”. The signature “Maria Poveka” was used on undecorated pieces. These are all approximate dates and some exceptions do exist.

Adam and Santana, continued making pieces of pottery into their nineties. Their eldest daughter, Anita Martinez is known for her beautiful polished black lidded jars.

Barbara Gonzales, granddaughter of Adam and Santana is known for her intricately incised black, red and polychrome bowls with her “good luck” spider motif. Barbara has been making pottery since her early childhood but has been a serious potter for over thirty years and continues in the family tradition. In terms of techniques, Barbara is considered an innovator.

Robert Gonzales, Barbara’s husband, assists in the “firing” of pottery as well as gathering the raw materials for pottery making. Robert does animal figurines in clay; plain polished bears, bears with feathers, turtles as well as small bowls and plates.

Cavan Gonzales, the eldest son of Barbara and Robert, has developed a name for himself as a leader in the polychrome revival at San Ildefonso. Polychrome pottery requires the application of three or more colors of clay slip to the bowls to create one’s design. Cavan’s specialty is large sized bowls with finely painted motifs. A graduate from Alfred University, New York, Cavan is a striving force in continuing the family tradition of making the very finest Pueblo Pottery.

Aaron Gonzales, the second son, has developed his own style of highly polished blackware. Aaron is best known for his clay buffaloes with a high polish combined with micaceous clay, inset with small turquoise or coral eyes. He also makes traditional bowls with the “eagle feathers” or “avanu” (water serpent) slip designs.

Brandan and Derek Gonzales are Barbara and Robert’s youngest sons. They both have been surrounded by and have been brought up in the pottery making tradition.

With Pride, Barbara and Robert’s first grandchild, Aaron’s son, Jeramy Gonzales has made his debut with clay. He makes unpolished clay animals and bowls. In this exhibition Jeramy Represents the sixth generation of artisans in this amazing family. Each piece in this exhibition is a continuing testament to Maria’s and Julian’s legacy.