Wednesday, October 15, 2008

As the kiln fires...

It's time to take a breather. As much as I love LOVE love firing in wood kilns for all the atmospheric wonder and effect, this week I'm very happy to be firing the gas kiln as it's given me a slight break in a crazy busy week. I'm getting other work done, but the main job is to sit with the kiln and tweak the damper. Here's a catch up of life since the excitement of Saturday's car folly and missed trip to the Potter's Market...
(ok, this has nothing to do with the post, it's just a tile textured with couscous that was left in plastic too long and molded - just thought it looked cool!)

The problem with George turned out, thankfully, to be a blown fuse. As I mentioned before, I'm not one to know what's going on with the car (I used to know more when I had a '66 bug, but that was a loooooooong time ago!), and I didn't even know I had a fuse box, much less where it is OR the fact that I had a pack of new fuses in the glove box. So close!

But in the $$ department, that was very good news, and I dropped off a couple of tumblers of appreciation to Adam, my mechanic, for knowing about fuses! And to continue the grateful acknowledgments (I'd be in a ditch by the side of the road, almost literally, if it weren't for good friends this week!), many thanks to Courtney for ferrying me out to the shop to pick up the car bright and early on Tuesday.

But I got ahead of myself...Saturday night fun included packing up all bisque-ware and stuffing it into the fabulous yellow mercedes to go to the glaze studio.
My temp ride, loaded and ready to go!

Julie and Joey were still glazing and not quite loading yet, so I just stacked my boxes out of the way and took advantage of the chance to get some extra sleep for the week. Sunday was up early to kiln wash shelves at my studio in anticipation of the first glaze firing for the Empty Bowls load on Monday, then over to the glaze studio to set up my fun for the next few days of glazing.
the empty canvas

Once everything was out of boxes, it was back over to the Odyssey studio to unload a gas kiln to make it empty so we could load the Empty Bowls kiln there, but first there were some remaining bisque bowls to be glazed. I got some glazed, then Beth arrived and took over glazing while I started loading the kiln. We got it loaded and candled by late afternoon so I headed back over to the glaze studio to start waxing and prepping. Monday morning was early at Odyssey to get the kiln started, then back to my studio to glaze the bowls for the cone 7 kiln and get it started. While I was there, I also got a fabulous treat and surprise gift box from good friend Karen to celebrate the studio opening, with a basket full of yummy that I'll look forward to when I get back in town next week! Back to Odyssey to check on the kiln, which Beth had nicely in hand, so after the last Bowl Project class she took that through and I headed back to the glaze studio to keep going with the base glazes. John Hartom brought some of the Collector's Corner bowls to show the class, along with materials from the Empty Bowls archives to share how other artists and groups express their own sense of social justice around the world. It's a wonderful and inspiring collection.

John Hartom, the man behind the bowls...
Some of what you'll find at Thursdays event: offerings from Linda McFarling, MacKenzie Smith and many, many more

I even started some wax resist work but when I caught my self putting the wrong glaze on a commission piece I knew it was time to wash it off and head home for bed!

Tuesday morning I gassed up the mercedes, returned it to yet another much appreciated friend Melissa, and Courtney got me to the shop to pick up George and even stopped for her inspection while she was at it. Back to town and gave myself the luxury of a nice walk in the park with Lissa before heading back to the studio. It was a pretty busy day at the studio, not only for me, but in the traffic that came through. I stayed pretty well focused, but as I've mentioned before I'm learning more and more that I really prefer solitude when I'm glazing.

progress with the aid of my ipod

Things quieted down and I was making progress, but I could tell around 7:30 that if I didn't get some help in I'd be in for another 3am finish, and the week was still young with too much to do for that. So hitting the book o' dear friends yet again, Heather came to the rescue and headed over to start loading while I finished up glazing. Solitude is good for glazing, but it's always more fun to have a friend in the studio during other parts of the firing process. Heather got me caught up, so by the time she had to leave I was finished glazing and ready to take over the loading. Joey came back to get his pots and gave me a hand in the candling, and while still 1am, it's so much better than 3! The scene when I left:the scene after loading

This morning, yet another kindness done by Laura, kiln owner, who started the kiln for me at 7:30 which gave me time to give Lissa a walk and run by and unload the cone 7 kiln at my studio. I didn't have my camera, but I'll try to get shots at the event tomorrow - it looked good, although it seems to have gone quite firmly to cone 8 despite my programming. Something to tend to when I get back in town. The clear over the underglazes was very nice, and the cone 10 glazes on the exterior of a few bowls did some very nice things too - I hope I wrote down which ones I used because there's one I want to use again! Got back to the glaze studio to keep doing the turn ups and clean the mess, or at least make the place much more presentable:

cleaner and ready to unload the kiln...ooops, gotta fire it first!

And then kind Heather to the rescue again as I had to head over to Odyssey at noon to unload the cone 10 and cone 6 kilns that had been cooling.the Empty Bowls load
Gay Smith trimmed this bowl of hers during her demo, and the shino got a nice kiss from the kiln in this firing

The firings were all good, and with help from Bowl Project class members and studio assistants, we got both kiln loads packed in no time, and loaded those and the other bowls Beth had collected over the past months (total delivery, approximately 450 bowls!) and Celeste and I drove the bowls to the Doubletree Biltmore where we'll be back tomorrow morning to help set up for the luncheon. Back at the studio, the kiln is a cookin', I'm a chillin' and getting ready to listen to the debate. With a nod from the kiln gods, we'll be finished early enough to gain an hour or two on lost sleep and be up and fresh to set up the Empty Bowls lunch tomorrow morning, and then continue with the week's craziness (oh, it's not done yet, by any means!).

So if you're in the area, come to the Empty Bowls lunch - there are fabulous bowls to be had, delicious food to be eaten, and good information to be gained on how big an issue hunger is in our area, as well as the good work that Manna Food Bank does every day to combat it.

Time to check the kiln!

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