Award Jurors 2020 Celebration of Clay

Award Jurors for Celebration of Clay 2020: Perspectives

by Celebration of Clay Committee
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New Date: July 31 – September 19, 2020
Fuller Lodge Art Center (FLAC)
Los Alamos, New Mexico

The annual NMPCA Celebration of Clay exhibition is a “self juried” show, meaning members select work for entry that they feel is their best and which they feel proud to stand beside. Entries are accepted into the show in the order submitted up to the number of pieces allowed for the show. This year, that number is 60 pieces. Registration for entry into the show is open from February 1, 2020 to June 10 or until 60 pieces have been entered. Show details and entry at

Monetary awards are chosen by a panel of judges from the entries in the show to recognize special achievements. This article highlights the award jurors and tells something about them and their own work.

Awards include:

  • Best of Show, $150
  • Arita Porcelain Award for Beauty, Quality, and Functionality, $100
  • Three Awards of Merit, $50 each

Viewers of the exhibition, either on-line or in person, are invited to submit votes for the “Peoples Choice” award. This award is announced at the end of the show and the winner is featured on the NMPCA website.

The 2020 Award Jury:
Ken Nebel, Lee Akins, and Liz Hunt

Ken Nebel

Director, Fuller Lodge Art Center

Ken Nebel is a long time Los Alamos resident and a life long artist. Ken holds a BFA with an emphasis in Illustration and a minor in Art History. Ken’s passion for sharing his love for the visual arts with his community is fulfilled through directing the Fuller Lodge Art Center, owning Village Arts, and facilitating the Los Alamos Life Drawing group. Ken continues to work as a practicing artist in his own right, and particularly enjoys the challenge of creating art from the people around him and incorporating new media with his traditional background of drawing and watercolor techniques.

Lee Akins

Ceramics instructor at UNM Taos

Lee Akins was born in Texas but spent most of his early years in Taiwan. He received his B.F.A. from the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio in 1975 and M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University in Ceramics in 1986. He has taught ceramics at the college level for more than 30 years including Dallas County Community College and Colin College, Plano, TX. In 2008 he retired early and moved to Rinconada in northern New Mexico to become a full time studio potter. He currently teaches part-time at the University of New Mexico, Taos.

Lee coil builds terracotta, creating vessels and sculptures influenced by his time in Asia. His work has been featured in ceramic magazines and publications including an article in Ceramics Monthly, August/September 2006.


My work seeks to combine figurative imagery with the format of the traditional clay vessel.  The vessel has historically been a powerful metaphor for the body, with each part of the pot being named for the corresponding area of the body.  A full lip, a gentle curve of the neck, a rotund belly or a broad shoulder all combine to provide animation to the pot.  Some are predominantly male, some are a synthesis of male and female but most are female forms inspired by fertility figures found in most early cultures.  The Venus of Willendorf and the stone carvings of the Cycladic culture are some of the most powerful to me.  My most recent work strives toward an elegant organic form, one that is obviously a hand-made object but has an internal natural order.

My pieces are coil-built out of terra cotta.  Coiling allows me to control the form while the joining marks provide an inherent rhythm to the surface.  The terra cotta gives warmth to the colors, yet allows a wide choice of finishes.  Peeling paint and mossy rocks provide sources of inspiration for the color and textures of my work.

Liz Hunt

Ceramics instructor at Santa Fe Community College


I was born just outside London, England, but spent most of my formative years in Kingston, Jamaica. Growing up in Jamaica was wild and exciting, full of the exotic and the exotic was normal. I ran with a group of kids that came from all over the world and we waged battles with the rotting fruit from mango and guava trees after building our mud pie forts. There were peacocks in the parks, carnivals in the streets and duppies (ghosts) lived in the huge almond tree that grew outside my bedroom window. I could talk to the birds.

All that abruptly changed when we moved to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Since then I have moved many times, always living on the surface of a place, feeling restless once I have grasped the sense of the place I am in. A similar sense of restless movement seems to define my work. I shift gears and change direction when I figure out the basics of what I am working on. To counterbalance this tendency, I work on several series simultaneously, and then cycle through those series over time allowing me to justify my wide range of interests.

I received a BFA from Michigan State University in Graphics and Photography with a lot of painting on the side. After working in the photographic industry for many years in Chicago, I needed a change. I moved to New Mexico to pursue a graduate degree in ceramics. Since receiving my MFA from the University of New Mexico, I have been teaching ceramics at Santa Fe Community College and showing in various galleries while devoting as much time as possible to working on my own ideas.

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