Shepherd’s Delight

Heading home after a visit to my pottery guru Desmond, the bright red sunset was magnificent.  By the time I got hold of the camera, it was mostly hidden behind the tree, but it did get me thinking about the meaning behind the phrase ‘red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’.  Obviously it signifies fair weather in the morning…but why?  Well thanks to Wikipedia the answer is below….

Desmond had an intense dislike for my test glaze pots, which is a triumph!  We both have a distinct love of pottery, but our tastes are drastically different.  He likes functional ware, but has a real flare and passion for glazes and an incredible knowledge of the chemistry involved….great to pick his brains.  I love big, textural pieces, where the form is often more important than the glaze…and the pieces are mostly completely useless!

I’ll remember the flash of intense red from the sunset, it reminds me of the red on my ‘Egghorn’ piece….and I should be able to replicate this now in reduction firings, achievable in the gas kiln that Desmond has kindly donated to my pottery effort.

Red sky at night, Shepherd's delight

Weather systems typically move from west to east, and red clouds result when the sun shines on their undersides at either sunrise or sunset. At these two times of day, the sun’s light is passing at a very low angle through a great thickness of atmosphere, the result of which is the scattering out of most of the shorter wavelengths — the greens, blues, and violets — of the visible spectrum, and so sunlight is heavy at the red end of the spectrum. If the morning skies are red, it is because clear skies to the east permit the sun to light the undersides of moisture-bearing clouds coming in from the west. Conversely, in order to see red clouds in the evening, sunlight must have a clear path from the west in order to illuminate moisture-bearing clouds moving off to the east.

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