dripping microvases

A few weeks ago, Alli’s mother requested that I try making some small vases which she could use for making small flower arrangements. Always happy to accept a pottery challenge, I sat down and threw a dozen little vases. For the most part, it went well. There were a few little vases that got all timey-wimey and I accidentally smashed the rim on one of them while trimming, but overall they turned out really well.

After bisque firing, I packed up the pieces and brought them north. Alli, her mother, and the kids helped me paint them with a variety of Mayco Elements glazes, then I fired them in her kiln at Cone 06.

The results are lovely. Good, rich earthy tones and delicate translucent colors. I need to get some brighter colors before springtime, but these are great for the fall.

I’m especially entertained by the green vase. The drips are actually a blue paint, but the interaction of the chemicals in the dark blue glaze (applied first in two layers) and the green glaze (which I did as two layers of overcoat) is quite stunning. I had intended the base of each drip to be more jagged, but the glaze ran a little, creating this more gentle effect.

The next generation of microvases will have narrower necks. These are nice, but I’m told that the usual aesthetic of these “grandma pots” leans towards narrower necks. I’m hoping to find the time to throw a few pieces in that style tonight or tomorrow morning, so I’ll update the YouTube or Facebook livestream with a video when that happens.

You can find my pottery, including these vases, over at my Etsy store.

Shooting the Moon

The other night I stepped out to the dock to put away some paddles that the boys had forgotten in their enthusiasm to go to dinner with Walker’s dad… and thirty seconds later came running back into the house because I had to try and get a shot of the moon rising over the bay.

It turned out better than I expected, but isn’t quite what I had hoped for:

Moon Rise Over Chesapeake Bay, 2020/10/2

The difficulty of capturing a moon photo comes down to glass size. The moon already looks large to us because of an interaction between the curve of the atmosphere, density of the atmosphere affecting how light bends, and our own eyes being quite nearly spherical. It’s all a stack of lenses piled up one upon the other, giving you the effect of a giant moon.

That’s why when you try to take a moon shot with your phone, you’ll almost always be utterly disappointed. Even multi-lens fancy phones are still using an array of barely curved lenses. To shoot the moon properly you need a nice, large, curved glass lens. The basic stock lens on my Nikon (AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G) is just barely adequate.

I like this shot, but I do think I should have put the foreground water into focus, rather than trying to focus on the moon and the island, and obviously it would have been better with a larger lens that would show off how large the moon looked over the island, about three miles away.