Philadelphia is hosting the NCECA conference this week, the huge Ceramic artist and educator event that has almost literally covered this city in clay. 90 exhibitions related to clay are underway, and the convention center in the heart of the city is a hotbed of artists and art talk revolving around jigging and jollying, slip casting, high fire and low fire, raku, surface, form, and all other techniques, processes, and vocabulary. Stars of the ceramic world are giving lectures and demonstrations, and student work is on display alongside that of the top pros in the field. Isaiah Zagar, Philadelphia's own mosaic visionary, spoke this morning about his life's journey in his art, invoking shoulders he stands on, including Gaudi and Henry Chapman Mercer, and a doctoral student from Harvard gave an erudite talk about Black Mountain College and evolving attitudes towards ceramics. Richard Shaw and Kari Radasch, both master ceramists, stood on a stage shaping plates and pulling silkscreens, volleying wisdom back and forth as their hands kept busy with their work. In a nearby space galleries from around the country showed off their artists' work, next door to objects made by elementary and high school students. In one room there is a Cup Sale - tables full of functional (or not) cups donated by hundreds of artists - there alone is the magical story of clay: the idea of a simple object exploding into the glorious kaleidoscope of human imagination and physical dexterity. More blogs to come about individual shows and artists. Works shown are by: Betty Wooden, Todd VanDuren, Brittany Telegan (8thgrade), Russell Biles, and Sam Chung. Are you a lover of clay? Leave a comment - tell me about it!