Tuesday, September 2, 2008

firing #1 away...

So many times during the past few days I wanted to post and update here, but alas I just couldn't make the trip all the way down to the end of the driveway to get online. I started out thinking I had a luxurious amount of time to prep and glaze my load...this would be my first kiln load that's mostly mine at the WestFire kiln, so I'm calling it #1. It was made rather quick and dirty over the past few weeks so I could catch up on orders and have something for OrganicFest next weekend, but somehow I fear those kinds of deadlines are always going to sneak up on me!

Anyway, started out leisurely enough, moving pots to the studio on Friday to get them prepped for a Sunday load and Monday fire. I mean that's two days! I was rather self-congratulatory I think I was...

But as with all good intentions...Friday first started, after a nice urban hike with Lissa and taking her back to the house, at my studio, loading the car with everything I'd need for the glaze session. WestFire is only about five blocks from my studio, but I still don't have the bike serviced and at any rate I didn't want to waste time buzzing back and forth for things forgotten. So pots and brushes and washes and underglazes and scales and gloves and respirators and stools and fans were loaded. This indeed can take longer than you think! I got everything unloaded at WestFire and set up my work area just in time to head back to Odyssey for a very lovely little 'good bye and good luck' party that some of the renting studio artists put together for me and another artist who is leaving Odyssey. Peter had a huge cake, and finding out that I can't eat dairy only after he ordered it, he even picked me up a slice of vegan chocolate/peanut butter cake! Just the right amount, and considering I hadn't had breakfast yet by the time I got there, all the appropriate food groups to go with my coffee.

So finally to WestFire, after a quick run to pick up a sandwich so I might actually eat something out of the sugar/caffeine group (that's the bottom 2/3's of the food pyramid, isn't it?). Back at the studio, the first order was to mix up a glaze I need for the Chocolate Lounge mugs. Lo and behold, in spite of recently buying a load of glaze chems for the studio, my chosen glaze calls for Wollastonite ... and only a little bag of dregs here to be found! So back to Crazy Green where fortunately I had plenty, back to WestFire and finally the glaze got mixed! Then it was on to wiping dust off all the bisque that had been stacked in the studio for the past weeks, and setting up the space to wax bottoms.

Joey and Julie were firing their kiln, which you can see glowing in the back of the picture. You can also see that in spite of taking over just about every surface, I still needed to work and shift and move ware around to get to it all. Got the ChoLo mugs lined just as Melissa Weiss, who also makes ware for the Chocolate Lounge, dropped off some work to add to the firing. And then I had just enough time to put the glaze on the logo stamps and wax over them before Holly came to get me for the funeral march and celebration for John Payne. I was gone a lot longer than I thought I'd be, but I'm so glad I went. I didn't get to know John as well as a lot of people, but being in that group of friends, family and colleagues Friday night I got to know him better, and the love and respect that buzzed through the crowd echoed the reach he had into this community. I forgot to take my camera for the LaZoom bus ride to the parade start, the march across the bridge and the great party, incredible puppet presentation and dove release, but I know there are lots of pictures of the event floating on the internet airwaves.

Back at the studio, I managed to get the ChoLo mugs done, diffusers base glazed and most of the rest of the load logged so I wouldn't have to spend hours wondering what I was about to do on Saturday. Saturday is market day, and I hadn't been for the past couple of weeks and I had a jones for some fresh market veggies, so had to make that diversion. Back in the studio, the first group got base glazed and then brush work began. There are a lot of new things I want to try, and I have to keep reminding myself to pace it out - it's so tempting to try a little of this and that on mugs and tumblers, but I don't want to end up at OrganicFest so much variety that it looks like a garage sale. But it's been a while since I glazed at this studio and had the variety of glazes available that weren't at Odyssey, so I had to play a little.

So underglazing and waxing ensued, and that took me through the day and into the evening. I finished the diffusers, glazed a few other commission pieces and got my self to a point where Sunday would be all about my work. I still felt I had plenty of time, since I couldn't start loading until Julie unloaded her kiln on Sunday. I did go home Saturday night and cook up some of my market veggies so I'd have good eats on Sunday, and it was late but not too late getting to bed.

All this and it's only Sunday? I babble too much....but Sunday had it's own delays. Got a nice romp in the park with Lissa, then had to go by Odyssey and finish cleaning out my studio. Those boxes (how much stuff I had in that tiny space!!) are all shoved into the new studio, on top of the lovely new display boxes and risers that Alex delivered on Friday. Today is gonna be fun putting the studio back in order, which is why I'm writing this from home to avoid yet one more distraction!

So back to Sunday, finally getting to the studio and back to finishing brush work and shifting ware to glaze more pieces.

some new brush work...not sure if I saw this flower somewhere or if it's just an invention of a sleep-deprived mind, but I'm likin' it so far...

Julie came to unload, so of course there were breaks in work to look at her kiln results, check out Joey's work and talk about the firing.
Julie had work that didn't make it into her kiln, so she stayed to glaze it for my kiln. I had plenty to load from my work, but because of the inventory I needed to throw for this load, most of it was on the shorter side, so her addition of pitchers and big bowls gave me some stacking options and let the load be tighter than it would have been.

The downside, as pleasant as it was, was learning that I really get a lot more done when I glaze alone! We were both working away, but I noticed after she left around 8pm that I started getting a lot more done...and I also learned I had a lot more to do than I realized. I got down to a smaller grouping of teabowls and cups, so I decided to start loading what I had done as a way to clear some of the tables and shelves. A little loading, a little brushing, a little glazing, a little more loading. I'm not gonna say just how late it was when I finished, but some could say it wasn't late at all, it was early...early the next morning.

So the kiln got a shorter candle and I got a shorter nap...but all in all I had a good, if not caffeinated, energy level. Monday was firing, cleaning the studio and taking some time to work on studio forms for the classes that will start next week.

Anne and Steve were in town camping, and they came by during some earlier hours and gave me a nice break with a quick trip to the Chocolate Lounge for some yummy truffles (client research, of course!), then a bit later treated me to dinner at the Noodle Shop. And I had been worried that since I worked so late the night before I'd be eating peanut butter sammies all day and night!

The firing seemed to go okay, but it stalled a bit around cone 6. I have dozens of theories on the stall, but all in all with the later start it was maybe an hour and a half longer than I thought it would be.So the kiln went to bed around midnight, then me a couple of hours later after catching up on emails, and today as the kiln cools I'll get Crazy Green looking like a studio again. Kiln opens on Wednesday, so send a nice thought out to the universe for pretty pots!

ok, enough babble, I slept in a bit and now it's time to dig out of the boxes and get the studio back in order...more later! peace.

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