As I set it gently down, a lovely woman came up behind me and asked, "Do you know ceramics?"
I was a little embarrassed for having been caught breaking the unspoken code, but recovered enough to say, "Just a little. I’ve been taking classes for a little while now, but still consider myself a rank novice."
She smiled in a most disarming way. "I could tell that you were a thrower just by the way that you handled the pitcher. Where do you do your work?"
The conversation that followed was amazing. We talked for a little while about studios in the area and little by little I realized that she was the artist whose work I had just been admiring. I confessed a fascination with finishes and we got into a long discussion about the tools and techniques that she used, from gas-fired kilns to iron-oxide slip. When I pressed about the pattern on the pitcher, she began to talk about tracing guidelines into the slip and then not using them as absolutes. This very much excited me, and when I started talking about my ideas of "controlled abandon," she smiled again and invited me to come see the studio at Harvard... where she teaches.
I was already riding high on Betsy encouraging me to consider a table at the next Punk Rock Flea Market, and this sent me over the top. I think this was probably the first time that I had had a discussion with an artist where I was made to feel like a peer and not just another student.