I am an engineering student by focus, scared by the future of scarce and harshly competitive opportunities in the Arts after school (as relayed to me by everyone who asked me about my studies). As a student that found a compromise, finding out about the CSArt program and being a part of it's growth is a redemptive effort on my study of choice. Not that I regret studying engineering, but I'd like to have more creativity in my life with hands-on things as much as I have that freedom with progressive projects; you know, to feed the humanitarian side of my machine soul once in a while. At NCECA, I attended lectures that focused on the technological or progressive side of ceramics, which was a health dose of knowledge on opportunities that blends the field of technology and ceramics together. There is a TON of science in the arts. I know that sounds a bit ignorant and unoriginal, but there is a unfair relation between the two that is a repetitive topic (lifestyle, prestige, income, etc).
NCECA is meant for ceramicists, but I found a niche for myself. During this trip, I met a senior engineer who is invested in ceramics as an artist and we had a very interesting conversation about the future of people with scientific backgrounds with art inclinations. We attended a lecture together on 3D printers integrated as ceramics educational tools along with a laser demonstration on setting glazes, an application I haven't considered that requires engineers to solve the issues the speaker currently faced with his demonstration. While the engineer and I could instantaneously see the solution plan and identify shortcomings, I didn't imagine such an application even though I deal with laser printers quite often. On the flip side, for artists to demonstrate or deliver on ideas like this, they require a base knowledge of material properties. By trade, ceramicists gain an in-depth knowledge on chemical reactions and material properties that are on par with chemists and material engineers. The art field has taking significant strides to augment their practice with practical knowledge that I believe dialogue for progress between the two fields should be just s developed.
In the CSArt perspective of running a business selling arts, the NCECA conference's talks shed very fruitful light on issues that we faced on growth in the local market. As a hesitant artist, I learned so much on how to sustain a successful career as an artist, if I ever chose to singularly pursue that life. After soaking in all the wonderful art pieces and speaking to accomplished individuals who gleefully shared/demonstrated their craftsmanship, this trip cracked the cage of fear I had surrounding a career as an artist.