This year's Crosby Festival has its usual array of artists from around 
the country, in Ceramics, Fiber, Glass, Graphics, Jewelry, Mixed Media, 
Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Wood. The festival is a nice one, 
held every year at the Toledo Botanical Garden. It's a lovely place with 
little houses (formerly part of the neighborhood) now housing artists 
guilds, herb society, glass blowers, photographers and the Toledo Potter's
 Guild (where I ride my bike to teach adult classes every week.) So guess 
who got the blue ribbon for Ceramics? Clayart's own Richard Aernie. 
He and his potter/partner Carolyn came to town Thursday night and set up 
an artful display of elegant pots with those delicious, complex glazed 
surfaces. Molly and I got to chat with them Friday night after the 
members-only opening show (Richard sat patiently with a chinchilla on 
his shoulder, listening to Molly go on about her pets.)  Yesterday Jeff 
and my boys got home from a week away at scout camp. They were sunburned, 
mosquito bitten, pungent and filthy. Once they were all showered up, and 
the hazmat team had transported all dirty laundry into the washing 
machine, they settled in and Jeff made a nice dinner (chicken piccata). 
Richard and Carolyn joined us when the show ended for the day.  They 
were tired and steam-broiled, after a long day of heat and rain. Jeff 
and the boys had gotten up at dawn in canvas tents 50 miles away, and 
were a little weary themselves. I had spent a lot of the day in a hot 
parking lot with the girl scouts -- (and then dealing with the EZ-up that 
went up-up-and-away, Mary Poppins style), so I was also a little 
sunburned and thrashed. In spite of it all, we had a lovely dinner 
together, and shared some interesting beers.  Molly found a fellow 
animal lover in Carolyn (whose ceramic handbuilt dogs just exude 
personality, and who works in animal hospitals -- Molly's dream job!) 
Richard was very patient with my "academic" questions (lol) as I hauled 
pot after pot from my cupboards for him to look at, wanting to know 
what he sees, what he likes, what he thinks. Several clayarters were 
on the dinner table after dessert... several more were discussed, even 
if I didn't have a pot we could hold in our hands.  Today was the last 
day of the sale, and we rode over for a last look at the show. The 
quality of pottery there was (IMO) uneven, from the awkward to the 
sublime, but Ann Tubbs and her majolica are always a joy, and Tom Marino 
from our guild had a booth not far from Richard's.  It feels marvelous, 
this week, to finally have my life organized, my refrigerator and pantry 
full, my house clean enough for entertaining, and my garden burgeoning 
in the rain. It has been a very long time since I've had the breathing 
room to enjoy good company, time to read, and morning coffee on the 
deck. The constant nagging feeling that I need to be doing something 
(at home, if I was at school, or at school, if I was at home) has 
dissipated, and I'm hearing the strains of my long forgotten favorite 
song.. "Summertime.. and the livin's easy"...  (And I'll be darned, my 
daddy's rich and my mama's good lookin'...)  This weekend, for the 
first time, I kind of felt myself turning a corner in another way. 
Maybe it is because my taxes are done and my house in order, or maybe 
enough time has passed after the round-the-clock-pressure of making 
for my show that I have caught my breath. But for the first time in 
over a month, I am actually wanting to get back to the studio. I have 
been taking care of business, catching up on bookkeeping, planning a 
soda kiln and buying the guild's displaced Skutt... but I have not 
even been able to THINK about making pots, except for my guild class 
demos on Thursdays. I think I had a potter's version of post traumatic 
stress ;0) Even just the smell of the EMU studio's newspapers I'd 
used to wrap my show pots made me feel a little nauseous.  So this 
week, I will begin the process of reclaiming my studio, which is 
currently piled with unpacked boxes from school. I hope to begin 
reclaiming a sense of fun in my work, which was rare in school with 
so much to master and so little time. I look at color, pattern, 
different media, and think, "What would I make, if I could make 
anything I want?"  because I can... now...  Life is good, potters 
are friendly and supportive and marvelous and inspiring. Like the 
bumper sticker on an artist's trailer said, "People are wonderful, 
Business is great.. Thanks."  Yours, feeling blessed by long days 
and good kids, big bowls of backyard currants and cherries, and an 
on line community that brings me friendships with people I have 
never met...  Kelly