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"Don't Touch The Art"

Attending the National Council for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference had always been a dream of mine. Each year, the conference changes its location, and this time it was in Richmond, Virginia. Excited about the prospect, I asked my mom, who is also passionate about pottery, if she'd like to join me. My dad, always eager to travel, didn't need much convincing either. Before I even registered for the conference, we had our plane tickets and hotel reservations sorted. Now, it was time for me to advocate for myself and reach out to NCECA about being permitted to “Touch the ART.”

Advocating for myself has never been easy. Should I just show up at the conference and see what happens? With Richmond being quite a distance away, I decided to reach out to NCECA. They took my request to the exhibition coordinator, who oversees the 80 exhibitions held during the conference. To my delight, I was immediately invited to six exhibitions! While some exhibitors granted permission upon my request, others were not as receptive. Throughout the conference, there was a consistent recommendation to visit the K-12 Student Exhibition, one that I hadn't heard about or reached out to.

As we wandered through the gallery expo, I found myself drawn to the tableware on display. However, my parents had other plans—they wanted to visit the K-12 student exhibition. Feeling apprehensive, I made sure my white cane was visible as I reached out to touch a vase. Suddenly, I heard someone yell, "Don’t Touch the Art." In that moment, I couldn't help but think it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. However, my frustration turned to relief when the person realized I was blind. It turned out she had experience working with a blind, deaf child and offered to give me a personal touch tour of the exhibition.

Feeling invigorated, my kiln shelves finally arrived, marking the beginning of my journey in my own studio. I've learned that if you can think it, imagine it, or dream it, you can create anything from clay.

At the conference, I encountered over 200 ceramic objects—from cups and mugs to plates, platters, and vases—each with its own story to tell.

Some artists used ceramics to make profound statements, like the spooning female figures or the high-school football stars mounted on a spherical sphere.


I'm now equipped with my kiln shelves and my own studio, ready to bring my inspirations to life. I can't wait to share my new work with you!

Cheers, DK



This is wonderful Don. What a powerful experience. Congratulations on your studio being ready. I can't wait to see your new pieces xo


What an amazing experience! While it is hard to advocate for yourself, it is not just important for you but also to make sure everyone is aware and is conscientious. Best, Priscilla

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