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Get Your Face Out of Facebook

….and come to BECon 2009

I was in college in the ‘60s. I’m past the age where that’s as much an embarrassment as a statement of fact.  For my husband Dan there’s never been any emotion other than shameless glee in recalling his university years.


And why not? As coxswain on the rowing team he got to yell at bigger guys through a bullhorn – great practice for eventually running a glass factory.

But seriously. Although we’ve never discussed it much, I know from the anecdotes that we’ve shared that college for each of us – separated by a continent and an ocean – was about the same thing: group learning.

Learning in a group is different than learning alone. Sure, we all had to burrow into those solitary library cubicles, pump our systems full of caffeine and No-Doz and gulp down volumes of information in order to regurgitate it the next day and make The Grade. But the learning that we both remember most vividly is the learning that came out of interacting with others.

I’ve long ago forgotten the name of my freshman anthropology text, but I remember as if it were yesterday refusing a date with a guy because I thought his definition of culture was lame.  Ideas exchanged between actual people have emotional resonance.  They take root in ways that simply reading, or one-sided listening, -  or, oh horror, the minefields of Google – do not. Knowledge sown through real dialogue has the strongest roots.

That’s why , BECon, Bullseye’s biennial conference, is such an important part of our educational mission. The opportunity to meet, hear and mingle with some of the best in the field of kilnformed glass injects an element that is just not available through books or the Internet.

Face it, Facebookers: many of the best are just too busy – doing their best – to write books, shoot DVDs or, much less, spend more than minutes on Internet bulletin boards.

Beyond that, learning is not simply listening to “the masters”. Learning is interacting with our peers, sharing the experience, discussing, arguing, comparing, exchanging hare-brained philosophies over a beer. In my own college experience, that happened at least as much in the Student Union as it did in the lecture hall.

Which is why I’m so especially delighted this year that – thanks to our art faculty friends at Portland State University – BECon is going outside the sterile-typical hotel site and taking this summer’s conference to the beautiful leafy urban (yes, it’s smack in the middle of downtown Portland) campus of PSU.


The Park Blocks run right through the middle of the PSU campus. This pic was shot from the balcony of Smith Ballroom where we’ll all gather for the Tech Display….


A spacious, light-filled room where you’ll have the chance to talk with experts from companies like Bohle, Ditore, HIS, Paragon, Ransom & Randolph, and Western Industrial, among others.

Then take a leisurely walk across the mall to Hoffman Hall.


Jim Jones, Ryan Watson and Ted Sawyer enjoyed a little walk down collegiate memory lane last fall as we scouted the venue (ok ok, only Ryan actually attended PSU) .

Inside, the audiovisual equipment felt like being on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.


A stage worthy of BECon’s constellation of star (and soon-to-be star) presenters.

But, before I forget: among the biggest perks in this age of economic challenge has got to be the bargain-priced meals available at the campus cafeteria. Bye, bye overpriced rubber chicken….we actually ate here and it was damned good.


0125-30F Tasty-compatible orange booths guaranteed to stimulate the appetite.

So, get off the Internet, get on a plane (where airfares are currently a steal), in a car, or on a bus and come join us in the very REAL town of Portland, Oregon.

And DON’T believe BECon’s Facebook page. It show’s “38 confirmed guests”. Registrations are approaching 200 and the deadline for the early registration discount (May 1) is barreling down on us.

Register NOW – or I just might have to send Dan after you with a bullhorn.

8 Responses to Get Your Face Out of Facebook

  1. silvia levenson says:

    brillant, Lani!
    I think kilncasting is a thechnique connected to the memory: the final piece of glass represent what happened during all the process . Sharing informations, point of view and ideas can be part of this process.

    I am sure BECon this year will be a tool for a lot of us.Good idea!

  2. Lani says:

    And, Silvia, we are all soooo happy that you will be here with us to remember through glass!

  3. jamie truppi says:

    Lani, I’d like to see a picture of YOU from your college years!

  4. (Well if no one else is going to comment on how handsome Dan looks , I sure will. What a great shot. I tooooo would love to see a picture of the two of you. )
    But also (before I get myself in trouble) BeCon will be acceptional as well, and just the interaction between artists, gallery owners, and designers is worth a million (and very fun tooo!) Not only “FILLING THE VOID” of your mind with wonderful inspiration but also the heart. Cannot waite and everyone else should not waite tooo much longer either or you will miss out on an amazing sharing experience.

  5. I really wish we could come but bad timing, I had the misfortune to schedule a workshop for then. It’s the Curse. I have never believed in the Curse but what other explanation can there be? It continues to frustrate my life.

  6. Lani says:

    Ellen, we’ll miss you and Mark, but hope you’ll make the next conference. In the meantime, the audience is shaping up to be as impressive as the presenters. I’m writing from Santa Fe, NM right now and saw Lucy Lyon last night. A fantastic artist and caster in her own right, she told me she’s registered already (so I released the armlock). If you don’t know Lucy’s work:

  7. Claudia says:

    If only you knew how much I would love to be there! Coming back from SOFA NEW YORK on the weekend and being quarantined until further notice has been a real drag! Sadly we are holding off spending anymore on airfares and conference fees until N1H1…otherwise could be known as ‘no one has one’ virus has been eradicated. Hope you are safe over in NM. Claudia

  8. Claudia says:

    Please note…the other Claudia Borella on Facebook is not me! She is my Argentinian stunt double. Maybe Silvia can sort her out?

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