SEBRING - Half the fun at an arts and crafts festival is chatting with the practitioners.
"We get our clay from Atlanta or Asheville, N.C.," said Jim Osborn, a 1986 Sebring High School graduate.
"It comes from pretty close to the top. You don't have to go down very far to find it," Osborn said. Florida's clay is too sandy to hold together on a potter's wheel; Georgia and North Carolina mud has a finer, stickier grit.
However, Osborn said ancient and modern Seminoles found that Florida clay could be coiled into long ropes that could be wrapped into pots.
He and his partner, Michael Anthony Nagy, of Valrico, sculpt functional art: coffee mugs and bowls, dishes and fishes.
Anthony and Osborn, who teach art and language arts, didn't do as well last week at John's Pass Seafood Festival. "Last year here was one of our best," Osborn said.
The 47th Highlands Fine Arts & Crafts Festival opened at 9 a.m. Saturday to cool, overcast skies and a light breeze, and residents took the opportunity to crowd Circle Park before the afternoon rain.
Sunny Chanel wove precious and semiprecious gemstones into necklaces and bracelets. One was a necklace that moved colored crystals across the calendar from cool winter and spring to warmer summer and autumn tones.
Cindy Rose displayed her art and the photos taken by her late husband, Rick. One was his depiction years ago of 1946 Ford Super Deluxe coupe in front of Steve & Co., which was coincidentally catercornered from her tent Saturday.
Her husband specialized in birds and nature, Cindy Rose said. She concentrates on the glow.
"I don't have the knack with the birds; I try to capture the morning and evening light."
She held a photo of a sandpiper standing among the flotsam on Veteran's Beach at Lake Jackson. The evening sun warmed and defined the bird's plumage.
"It makes the feathers stand out," Cindy Rose said. "It's not easy - the birds are always running."
And, tiny as a pin prick, the sun reflected in one eye tells that the bird is alive.