I have always had a fondness for hardware stores. For some reason, nail bins, hasps, and hammers have always thrilled. Probably because I was a bit of a tomboy… growing up with three brothers and having a Dad who always had a big workbench full of hand and power tools. Somewhere, there’s a photo of me with my leg up on a sawhorse sawing away…while I’m wearing my Easter suit! My grandfather had an enormous shop that I would walk through with reverence when we visited, careful not to touch anything. So, along the way, the importance of having and caring for tools became ingrained in me. Later, I went on to use tools professionally while working in technical theater, building sets and working as a light/sound technician. By that time, tools were friends that helped you get the work done and I knew how to use them well. I guess I was always handy and working with ceramic tools came easy. To me, a tool isn’t just an inanimate object with which I have no relationship. A tool becomes a friend through long use. I remember how upset I was once when I reached for my large pipe wrench and it wasn’t there. It literally winded me. I was attached to that wrench, had used it a good long while, and was stunned when someone told me it had been stolen. Then there was this Kemper tool I had gotten years ago…I lost it somehow and was never able to find again. Maybe they stopped making them, but I’ve never stopped looking for it because it was one of my favorites. I bought one that sort of looked like it last year, but it just doesn’t have the same feel. So, when I saw this video of Simon Leach sifting through a toolbox to show us which clay tools he liked best or to show how he uses them, well, no doubt about it: I was in hog heaven! So, without further adieu….