The lens vase is ideal for ikebana flower arrangements. Its form contrasts a smooth, round, hand-inviting vessel shape with a torn hole which looks exploded. It is a work of art on its own, but is understated enough to give chief place to a flower arrangement. Its shape means it is quite stable, so spills are unlikely, but it holds a relatively large reservoir of water.
About the design: The lens shape is one that has been attracting me recently - especially the edge of the lens. One of the first results of this interest was incorporated into wallpiece RCB 08.05. Combining this with the technique David and I have developed for collision wallpieces, I created the simple, elegant design of the lens vase.
The hole in the lens vases ranges from 7/8 inch diameter (which takes a tiny ¾ inch kenzan/pin frog) up to a large hole, for a 2½ inch kenzan. Small holes can be made to hold a standard candle, even on top of the kenzan. Larger ones can hold a tea light, or maybe a larger candle. I normally fix the smaller kenzans in place with florist's clay, but they could be fixed more permanently with hot-melt glue. I am also looking into the possibility of using these as oil lamps.
How lens vases are made: The two halves of the lens are cut from brass sheet and dished with a hammer. Then the middle of the top piece is heated red-hot, and a punch is driven through it, resulting in the exploded-looking hole, no two of which will ever be alike. The two pieces are then brazed together along their edges, and feet are melted onto the base. The edge is sanded smooth (or sanded partly smooth, to leave a slightly rustic feel along the seam, as seen in the large vase at left). They are tested for water-tightness. The vases are then patinaed with traditional sculptural patinas which we mix from scratch. Most patinas are applied with a brush while heating the metal with an oxy-acetylene torch. Many are layered to provide deeper, more complex colors.
RCB Lens vases are currently available in the following patinas, representing nearly all of our standard colors:
blue-green, white blue-green,
dark green, black,
ochre, white ochre, black ochre,
brown, white brown,
grey, silver, silver brown, silver blue-green,
spray blue black (robin's egg or Turkish stone), stone grey,
pigmented blue, antique blue, tricolor.
Unlike most of our vases, these can be made in copper, at least in smaller sizes, and therefore red copper is another possible color. Copper vases will be slightly more expensive, however, and their prices are yet to be determined.
For the moment, I will not be making these in the burial technique mottled patinas. For more information, and larger pictures of the patinas, see our patina pages.
Lens Vases (since 2009):
very large — 12 inch (not shown) — $440
sorta large — 9 inch (not shown) — $340
large — 6½ inch (white ochre) — $230
medium — 5½ inch (not shown) — $200
small — 4¾ inch (antique blue) — $140
extra-small — 3½ inch (brown) — $110
I do not know if I will make any in Big (16 inch). Check back for updates!
Click photos below for larger versions:
Arrangement of orange flowers (and photo) by Karyn Gabaldon.
Dahlias (and photos) by Tony Burton.
Designs copyright © 2009-2022 Reed C Bowman