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The Firing

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I would like to talk about this past week.  It’s been a serious challenge.  I got behind in my making and glazing with a series of illnesses.  I hustled to get all the pots glazed so I could wad them on Wednesday, and then the weather was against me.  Wednesday was 23 degrees and snowing with 45 mph gusts.  Oof.  So I postponed wadding until Thursday, and wadded and loaded the kiln Thursday.  It was a long day- I do all the loading alone (but was grateful for help with the wadding!) and usually split this into 2 days. But I got it done, and was all set to fire Friday.

This is the back stack in the kiln.
This is the back stack in the kiln.

 

Friday was hard.  Not only was I firing, but my daughter was home from school and I was awaiting my folks visiting.  I guess I was distracted.  The temperature climbed well until about 3pm, where it stalled at cone 1.  Around 6:30/7pm we were still working on dropping cone 4 and realized we had lost the coal bed in the fire box.  I must have had the air open too wide.  I think there are other factors, but that’s my best guess on what caused this problem.  Shoot.  We closed the air way down and worked hard to get heat back into the firebox.  We stoked my kiln all night trying to get to cone 10.  At 6am, with no wood left (we even used some of Michael Kline’s wood) we stopped stoking.  Cone 8s and 9s were bending, but it’s not nearly as hot as I need for my clay or my glazes.  I am so lucky to have good friends Kristen Flournoy and Michael Kline who stayed up all night stoking with me.  John also really stepped up to taking care of Grae and providing us with support and food.

Kristen checking cones.
Kristen checking cones.

I’ve spent the weekend feeling devastated.  I’ve worked really hard for this firing, and the pots in this kiln are pots I’m proud of.  Today I unload the kiln.  My hope is that the center of the kiln is hotter then where the cones are, but I think it’s unlikely that the pots will look very good.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thanks for reading.