When the 52nd Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts convenes in Pittsburgh this coming March 14 – 17, Standard Ceramic will transform its facilities into several galleries that will feature exhibitions by noted ceramic artists. In addition, eight universities will be featured in “pop-up” shipping container galleries on the property. Standard Ceramic is located in Carnegie, a nearby community just fifteen minutes from the downtown conference location. Conference attendees will be able to travel to the site via charter buses and make their way through the galleries, viewing the art and touring Standard’s clay-making and glaze operations, its ClayPlace@Standard gallery space, Ceramic Supply Pittsburgh, and the company’s offices. Local musicians will perform throughout the Friday opening party, with food and drink provided.
The 2018 conference theme – Crosscurrents: Clay and Culture – will explore sources of inspiration that influence and impact work in ceramics today. The Standard exhibitions will address this theme. Over the next several months, we will feature stories about these artists and their shows here on our website. Visit us often to read about this exciting event.
Though potters Jack Troy and Kevin Crowe are based 275 miles apart, they share a long history of collaboration and friendship. Visitors to Standard Ceramic’s NCECA Exhibits will see a sampling of their work in a space that shares the closeness of this alliance. In a small office space at ClayPlace@Standard, converted to a mini-gallery, Troy and Crowe will tuck a selection of their smaller pieces into an intimate setting that enhances the personal, not only of each artist’s relationship with his work, but of their relationship to each other.
Kevin Crowe founded Tye River Pottery in the Blue Ridge foothills of Virginia. He produces wood-fired functional stoneware with strong Asian and English roots. He has an extensive history of giving workshops on throwing large pots and designing and building wood-fired kilns throughout the United States. He has a 450 cubic-foot, three-chamber combination Anagama and Noborigama kiln, which he fires two times a year. Although he is known for his large works, he plans to show his small tea bowls for the NCECA exhibit.
Jack Troy, a potter, teacher, and writer based in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, is known for his Salt Glazed Ceramics, published in 1977. Retired from Juniata College in 2006, Troy published more than one hundred articles, book reviews, and exhibition catalogue essays in major periodicals. In 2012, he was granted the Excellence in Teaching Award from NCECA, and in 2017 received the Watershed Legends Award. He, too, has led countless workshops – over 250 – for potters at art centers, colleges, and universities. Troy built the first anagama-style kiln in Pennsylvania at Juniata College in 1978. Later, he built two more at his home in 1987 and 2006.
Clearly, these two potters share similar interests and histories. Troy says he cannot remember when he met Crowe: “We were always at the same workshops and had a wonderful give-and-take. We fire the same type of kiln. We share friendships with the same group of potters. It’s like a little family.” Crowe and Troy correspond regularly and often teach workshops together. They will be leading a wood-salt firing workshop at Touchstone Center for Crafts in nearby Farmington, PA the weekend before the NCECA conference and will return there afterwards to unload the kiln. The kiln there, incidentally, was built by Crowe.
The collaboration that these two potters share reflects the theme and intent of this year’s conference: Crosscurrents: Clay and Culture - to explore the sources of inspiration that influence and impact work in ceramics today. Although the work of the artist is a solitary pursuit, it does not exist in a vacuum. Coming together to teach and to share work and ideas, whether at small workshops, at large conventions, or through a quick email, enriches and expands the artist’s consciousness, especially when it is fed by the warmth of friendship like Troy and Crowe’s.
Learn more about Kevin Crowe and Tye River Pottery at www.kevincrowepottery.com
Learn more about Jack Troy at www.jacktroy.net