Three women were walking along Liberty, talking among themselves. One of them brushed against a piece of pottery on a stand at the entrance to a booth. It shattered on the pavement with a crash that turned heads up and down the street.

The women never broke stride. “He shouldn’t have put it there,” one of them told her companions.

The ceramicist, Paul Uhl, said that a gallery representative had told him they would return later in the day to purchase the piece, priced at $360.

“Oh, well,” Uhl shrugged, looking sadly at the pile of fragments some passersby helped him pile onto his chair. “I guess I can sell it as a puzzle.”