Anyhow, I've been maundering on about fountains for several posts. I'm pretty excited about the possibilities embedded in the form, however- the way that thrown and sculptural components can be merged... as well as the integration of water in motion. There's nothing more beautiful. I've been thinking about this a great deal of late, in light of how half the Western landscape seems to be on fire, with Moscow, Idaho buried under a pall of smoke.
- The fall distance needs to be adequate to give a resonant, organic sound... but the structure can't be unstable (either functionally or visually).
- The pump and tubing should ideally be unobtrusive, and easily threaded through the structure
- I'd like to be able to incorporate living plants into the structure... and maybe leave space for displaying rocks
- The fountain should be easy to move and assemble/disassemble. Ideally, this means modular.
- I'd like to be able to include raku elements... but with a high-fire, non porous base. Again, this means that the design needs to be modular.
The image above is an early example of a prior prototype that probably would have met none of these criteria. We'll never know- it met an untimely and shattering fate (literally) within the fevered depths of the kiln.
The pump is hidden in the pedestal. The tubing enters the top vessel via the stand (slab-built, meant to evoke waves). There's a solid six inches of distance for the water to fall.
My hope was to evoke a leaping grayling (yeah- those things again).
It looks a little top-heavy in the photo... but that's a function of the photo angle. In person, it's a pretty balanced composition.
For the upper vessel (the locus for falling water) I considered two forms- a disc (as seen in the image to the right) and a globe. I wasn't sure which one would look better- so I built both.
I'm also a little more pleased with the way the disc-shaped vessel came out of the raku kiln. Some nice emeralds flashing to reds, complex, organic-looking texture.
One design flaw- I'd meant to put a plant in the smaller (turquoise) basin... but I like the design, and don't want to cover it up. Dang it!
The fortunate thing is that both of the designs work. Here's a short clip of the disc design in action.
There are three components- including a lower basin that holds the pump and an upper vessel with three spouts. Note that the upper vessel features an integrated planter- this is watered by the action of the pump.
The middle section incorporates a triad of supports for the upper vessel, and is rimmed by a tubular planter.
The upper vessel, unlike the rest of the piece, is raku-fired. I'm pretty stoked about the way this piece emerged from the kiln. The glaze is called Higby Water Blue (see this discussion). It's always been a pretty glaze, but it hasn't previously yielded quite this panorama of reds and yellows amidst the turquoise.
I started by shoe-horning a larger marsh-marigold type thingy in the top, and some wooly thyme in the sides.
The result lacked a certain balance... but I was definitely pleased with the aesthetic of the thyme. It reminds me of heather, and of cascading cypress trees on clifftops. So- I yanked out the big fellow, and installed more thyme.
Here's a video showing the final installation, perched in the east window of our house.