Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Double-walled bowls

I'm not usually good at commissions, but last month someone asked me to make her a double-walled bowl and it started a nice run of pots. I was surprised to discover what a few years of throwing zigzag pots has done for my skills when I actually get to compress the outside of a stretched pot. By fortuitous accident, one of the first bowls ended up with the inner bowl off-center from the symmetric outer bowl. I liked that asymmetry, so I came up with a way to make intentionally off-center bowls on the wheel.

The first bowl below is symmetric by accident (the result of fixing an unintended ding); more fun to make were the less symmetric ones that follow. I like that the bowls look substantial but weigh surprisingly little. I haven't decided yet whether to call them camellia vases or skeeter breeders. The glazes were sprayed and the pots were fired to ^6 in oxidation.

SCMW/Straw/ASG (dipped)/JJFW
SCMC/Cornflower/Selsor Oribe/JJFC
(With camellia for scale)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ocracoke vacay

Day 1

We arrived on sunny, warm Ocracoke Island last Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving with friends. That afternoon, we came across a sign posted outside a store:

Why yes, yes--we were feeling tense and wired. Why? Because it wasn't until we had pulled into the carport under the house where we were staying that we remembered S's lovingly customized bike was on the roof of our car. Sheeyit. Our mantra became "It's just a thing. It's just a thing. It's not a person, it's just a thing." But dang.

Shortly thereafter, E realized he had left his beloved coat on the ferry. The kid has probably lost three things in his entire 14-year life (one mitten, one fleece jacket, and...well, maybe just two things), so he's earned the right to lose the occasional something else, but he felt pretty miserable about the coat. When temps drop, his coat becomes his second skin--part of his identity. He wears it at home and at school and everywhere in between--except, apparently, on the breezy Swan Quarter-to-Ocracoke ferry. S phoned the ferry folks and we hoped the coat would turn up.

So yes, we were feeling tense and wired.

Then we went to the beach.

Birds were here
Flyer of kite
Closeup of inside of horseshoe crab shell


Pelican sinewave
Triplet waves
Sunset, day 1

Day 2

After breakfast Thursday morning, our merry band of grownups left the kids vegging at the house, drove halfway up the island, and walked the 7.7 miles back, first along the beach and then along the bike path.

C & R
S had phoned the ferry folks before we left; still no sign of the missing coat. As we neared town, S jogged ahead to meet the incoming ferry, where he found the very person who had found the missing coat. ("We wondered where that coat came from!," the ferry worker said, retrieving it from a closet on board.) E was delighted when S arrived home with it. The weather was so warm, however, that E didn't really need to wear the coat, so for the rest of the trip, he left it where he could easily find it (i.e. the middle of the living room floor).

It being Thanksgiving and all, we started prepping dinner, then headed back to the beach to watch the sunset before eating.

Looking ~NEbE
Looking ~SWbW
Looking ~SEbS
Brave 10-year-old swimmer J conquers the world
Post-dinner recreation involved kids and poker, with a heady introduction to Anaconda that made five-card draw mundane by comparison.

Day 3

I happened to wake up on Friday morning about 20 minutes before sunrise, so I dragged S out of bed and outside with me to find a good view. We ended up going for a six-mile walk down a road through the marsh, up the beach to the small airport, and back down the highway.

After breakfast, kids and adults minus S drove all the way to the northeast end of the island. R and I dropped off passengers, then drove a few miles back down the road, parked my car, and drove R's car back up to the ferry terminal. From there, we all walked around the point, across a wide shell-covered tidal flat, to the ocean, where we followed the beach south another a few miles until we reached the driftwood that marked our parking spot, hidden out of view on the other side of the dune.

J spotted this crab; it was about as big as my thumbnail.
I understand how beads of water could have gotten beneath this feather...
...and on and beneath this one,...
...but I have no clue how sand replaced the beads of water on this one.

J with the best shell find of the day.
My mom with the best vertebra find of the day.

E found this lovely spiral.
I searched the beach for the elusive Scotch Bonnet, and this was the best I could find.

Bonus Day 3 scenes:

Here is a photo reminding us of the proper way to park in a carport when one's bike is on top of the car:

Here is a photo of a golden retriever behind the wheel of a golf cart. Smart dog.

Day 4

S and I were so enamored of our early morning walk on Friday that we decided to repeat it on Saturday, setting off an hour earlier so that we'd arrive at the beach as the sun was coming up. My mom joined us. I think I could repeat that walk morning after morning; it was gorgeous.

Later that morning, C and I took the kids on the obligatory walk to the lighthouse. We greeted assorted local felines along the way. I think Ocracoke is one of the few places I've visited where people could give directions like "turn right at the cat" and it would actually mean something useful.

Then it was time for lunch from the best taco stand in NC, a quick visit to the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum, farewells to the friends who stayed for one more day, and on to the ferry and home.

What is this thing on the wall at the ferry info center?
In closing, some photos of sand:

Oh, and by the way...

Not anymore; not anymore.