Category Archives: Uncategorized

Now with more light box

This evening I built myself a lightbox for photographing my ceramics (following instructions involving sharp knives and the nagging fear you are going to accidentally cut your arm off (or worse, both arms)). I need better lights, but the effect is quite nice.

Small milk jug, cinnamon clay glazed with Ferg yellow and fired to cone 10 oxidation.

Pit Fire Workshop

This weekend marked the end of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation‘s pit fire workshop, organized by the awesome Miki Shim-Rutter. Yesterday we packed the pit with sawdust, bark, wood and bisque-fired ceramics. Today, we took the pieces out.

Pit fired pieces waiting to be retrieved

Here is one of my pieces. The next step is to polish it after a few weeks’s rest.

One of my pit fired pieces

Some new ceramics

I’m quite pleased with the ceramics from my recent classes.

I had several attempts at making a jug before this one. I kept messing up the formation of the spout. I succeeded after consulting Throwing (New Ceramics), which gave a clear explanation of the spout making process. Since the shape was nice, I decided on a simple glaze instead of some uncertain glaze experiment. This is iron red glaze, fired to cone 10 oxidation. I bought Throwing (New Ceramics) from the Contemporary Ceramics Centre, a lovely little shop and gallery opposite the British Museum in London. This was my first ceramics book, bought even before I had started throwing.

Red jug

Vase. It’s a hefty object – I started with 5lb of B Mix clay. Not the most refined shape, but it does its vasely duty. The glaze was an experiment. Robbins egg blue green inside and first dip, woo blue second dip. I feel that the colours are two dark, and the boundary between the first and second dips on the outside is rather subtle.

Vase

This is my best plate to date. I decided to try painting in underglaze, which turned out quite well even though I’m not entirely sure what kind of fruit this is. There is a layer of clear glaze on top. One peculiarity – there was a reaction between the underglaze and the clear glaze, leaving the surface somewhat rough in the places there was underglaze. Not suitable for eating, it’ll take a turn on the wall until I manage something better.

Plate with fruit in underglaze

Another plate. Underglaze under clear again. This time the clear is smooth, I think I put it on more thickly this time. My notes say “red, yellow and green underglaze”. I find this hard to believe. I think it has red, blue, and yellow in the middle, which completely burned away at cone 10.

Plate with squares in underglaze

I’m quite pleased with this cup, which I made in my most recent ceramics class. It’s comfortable to drink from, and surprisingly light.

Ceramic cup with slanted stripes

Ceramics in Japan

I just got back from a conference in Japan.

On my last day I visited a couple of ceramics places in Kyoto: the Raku Art Museum, and a ceramics shop/studio called Unraku-gama which makes a style called Kyoto Kiyomizu-ware. I was looking at the pieces there when the old potter came out of the back and asked a lady in the shop and me if we would like to see the workshop. Luckily she spoke English and was kind enough to translate. We went back and watched him throw a tea bowl and a teapot in next to no time. Sometimes he was working the clay while looking at her and talking.

I told the lady that I had been doing ceramics for a year. She told the potter and he invited me to have a go. He had perfectly centered a really nice hump so it was easy to throw something. This was a very touching experience for me.

Here he is helping me to cut the piece off the hump:

img_2489.

Getting avrdude running on Mac again

It’s been a while since I did any embedded programming. As usual, multiple Mac OS upgraded have played havoc with the libraries on my Mac, with the result that avrdude no longer works.

avrdude -p m168 -c usbtiny -U hfuse:r:high.txt:r -U lfuse:r:low.txt:r
avrdude: Error: Could not find USBtiny device (0x1781/0xc9f)

Sad.

I tried to install AvrMacPack as recommended on Lady Ada’s avrdude Mac setup page. The latest build of AvrMacPack is from 2014 and I couldn’t get it to work.

I found sources for avrdude-5.6 on my machine. That build but still didn’t work. I was pleased to find that the avrdude source repo is up to date. I downloaded it, brew installed libusb, configured, built and installed, and I am up and running.

bash-3.2$ make read-fuses
avrdude -p m168 -c usbtiny -U hfuse:r:high.txt:r -U lfuse:r:low.txt:r

avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.00s

avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9406 (probably m168)
avrdude: reading hfuse memory:

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.00s

avrdude: writing output file "high.txt"
avrdude: reading lfuse memory:

Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.00s

avrdude: writing output file "low.txt"

avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:F9, H:DF, L:62)

avrdude done. Thank you.

Thanks to the avrdude maintainers!