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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.

Lagging a little…

Hey y’all.  I’ve been covered up here on Snow Creek trying to get this kiln fired.  Finally last week my amazing husband went and got me wood from the sawmill.  I usually have it delivered, but Milan (who runs the mill) was in the midst of replacing his dump truck.  John spent all day with our friend Tessa and got the wood stacked.  Phew- thanks John!

She’s cute, huh?

 

Meanwhile, I’m cranking in the studio.  Here are a few shots from the past week.

Box vases, bisqued and with insides glazed.

 

Box vases with the first glaze.  I’ll glaze the thin lines white next.

 

Some of the dinner plates.  I have a lot of plates to glaze.

 

I’m enjoying glazing.  I like thinking about patterns, about the way lines and shapes can fill a space.  I’m behind, and my firing is going to be later than I hoped, but it’s going well.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Panoramic

click this for a panoramic of my studio!
click this for a panoramic of my studio!

My space is filling up!  I’ve got a couple more weeks of wet clay work- trying to make all the pots I’ve promised people and galleries I would make.  It’s going well.  I had the flu last week and lost about 5 days (it was lousy!), so I’m scrambling to make up the time.  Check out my facebook page for some stop motion videos of me working.

Thanks for reading!

Busy

Things in the studio are getting busy.  I had been worrying that I didn’t have a lot going on this spring- no big retail shows, only a few gallery shows- so I sent out some emails to galleries I enjoy working with.  The response was huge.  I am now feeling a little like I’ve got too much to do!

These large slab vases I’m working on have gotten a great response so far!  I hope they turn out!!

In my last firing back in October I had about 60-70 plates.  They were almost all sold or off to galleries within the first week!  Time to increase my prices!  I’ve had a bunch of requests for plates, so I’m making even more for this firing.  Above is 18 salad plates made a couple days ago.

Trimming is messy!  This morning despite being under the weather I did get those plates trimmed.

You can never make too many mugs, so I’m also plugging away at that.  31 mugs made yesterday.

Meanwhile, my husband John has been working on improving our house!  We now have filtered water.

And he took down the pesky walnut trees beside our house.  Every year they drop walnuts on the roof (BOOM!), and because of the walnut toxin juglone, we are unable to grow anything near the house.  No more!  The walnuts are down and soon to be milled into boards.

Thanks for reading.

 

When It Rains, It Pours.

This has been a VERY wet week.  I don’t know how many inches we actually got here, but is basically poured for 4 days.  We have been preparing to put a new roof on our house- we bought the tin, hired a crew… and then the rain.  Ugh.  As soon as the rain let up yesterday, John and our crew ripped off the old (leaky) roof.

They are going to get the whole roof done this upcoming week.  It feels good to be taking care of the old house.

Meanwhile in the studio, pots were not drying.  So I kept throwing.  Today all the pots seemed to dry at one.  I spent today trimming pots.

plates.

condiment bowls.

I had a couple boards of large mugs to put handles on.  Here is my handle attachment station.

Finished mugs with handles.

I have about a month left to make pots for this firing, and lots still to make.

Thanks for reading.