Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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!

Progress deploying Clojure to Google App Engine

I have been struggling for the last couple of days trying to deploy a test Clojure application to Google App Engine, with helpful prods from @perezd. I am using appengine-magic. The HEAD is broken, and the stable 0.5.0 branch has old dependencies. I fixed up some of the breakage in appengine-magic HEAD, coming up with the same solution as this unpulled pull request. Still, that didn’t quite do it. lein appengine-prepare was building a jar which lacked the needed Clojure language dependencies, so when uploaded to App Engine, the app page would just give a 500 error. lein uberjar would build a jar file including those dependencies, so I used that and followed the key steps in appengine_prepare.clj to put the jar in the right place.

Here’s how I finally got it to work:

Add the following to the project.clj file:

:aot [foobar.core, foobar.app_servlet]

Build, prepare and deploy with:

lein compile
lein uberjar
mv target/foobar-0.1.0-SNAPSHOT-standalone.jar war/WEB-INF/lib/
appcfg.sh --enable_jar_splitting --oauth2 update war

Yay.

No Lovejoy

I got up at 6am today to try to catch Comet Lovejoy, which should be visible in binoculars around 30 degrees above the horizon at that time. Unfortunately, seeing was quite bad despite a cloudless sky. I could not even reliably make out ΞΆ Herculis, which has magnitude +2.81, compared to Lovejoy’s current +5 or so.

So, I will have to wait until I am at a darker location. I found a usefulchart, showing Lovejoy’s position throughout December.

Position of Comet Lovejoy 2013 throughout December.
Position of Comet Lovejoy 2013 throughout December.