I'll explain why I was so surprised - truly taken aback. But first some background on awards. They can often be surprising. I've been at shows where I won one and thought someone else was more deserving; and also where I wondered - whaaat? - because the most unimaginative and run-of-the-mill ceramics won the prize. Then, other times I won and thought it was just about right (ahem).
But the show where this award was won had truly spectacular ceramics. The best I've ever seen. The judge was very personable and spent at least 15 minutes in every booth talking to the artist. So he took his job seriously and gave himself as much information as he could. Our conversation was cordial, I didn't think much about it after he left and was expecting nothing. I even skipped the awards breakfast the next morning, got there just at the end to open up my booth for the day.
So I was stunned when I heard my name called for the ceramics award. And, honestly, embarrassed. He must not know anything about ceramics.
But later the judge visited each winner to explain why he chose them. It didn't sink in for a while, because I was still in the mindset that, He must not know anything about ceramics. (Quoted from above.)
In this show, different from other shows, awards were given to a piece, not to the whole body of work. He explained that what so took him about the platter was that it exuded joy. He was super enthusiastic about it and how much he loved it.
Later, when his words sunk in, I realized, you know, I hear that a lot, and that I guess I didn't owe every other ceramic artist at the show an apology. It's the reason why I changed the name of the business from Peggy Crago Majolica to o happy clay! Because people frequently enter my booth and exclaim, this is so happy! I can't quite account for it. But how happy I am to be doing work I love.