Saturday, September 6, 2008
Mars, glaze surfaces and hurricanes
Here on Cape Cod, we're waiting for the arrival this evening of the remnants of Hurricane Hanna. Hanna has broken up into a wide swath of clouds stretching from the Carolinas to at least this sandy peninsula.
There's a certain feel in the air when a hurricane is coming, or even when its tattered leftovers are coming. We could feel it this morning - warm, wet air, clouds moving quickly overhead, tree branches beginning to move, wet leaves on the ground, cars going by pulling trailered boats that were floating at moorings this morning. I've turned the deck and lawn furniture upside down here so it won't blow across the yard. Now I've got to move the pots outside the gallery inside on the floor. No reason to scatter broken inventory on the deck. Then I'll pick the green beans in case the poles go over in the predicted 60 mile-per-hour gusts. And I'll take off as many ripe tomatoes as I can find. You get used to this sort of thing here.
I was looking yesterday at the shino- and ash-glazed pots that came out of the kiln last week. What I love about shinos generally and especially when combined with the ash glaze I use is that they create an unpredictable landscape on the surface of the pots. Thick shino will crawl sometimes, or crackle, which creates one kind of landscape. Ash glaze poured over it creates another. It's what I first loved about wood-firing, and especially anagama-firing. Often, no two sides of a pot are the same. Consistency and predictability are out the door. I love that.
I also occasionally see in these glaze landscapes references to literal landscapes, even literal extraterrestrial landscapes.
I often look at the refdesk.com site, which runs - along with hundreds of other references - an Astronomical Photo of the Day. This APOD, as it is called, may be a photograph from one of the Mars landers, or a Hubble image of a distant galaxy, or a closeup of the small moon of a far planet, or a riveting closeup of the sun. Some of the images are astonishing. All remind us of how small we are here on this planet. They're worth looking at.
The two photographs here are of the surface of Jupiter's moon Io and the surface of a teabowl made of native Martha's Vineyard clay, glazed in shino.