Friday, May 14, 2010

Last Bisque

I unloaded the last bisque firing from my old kiln yesterday. I am not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, I am not sentimental about inanimate objects, on the other, in some ways a kiln, when it is firing, almost seems alive. On the third hand, I am greatly looking forward to the new kiln, which will make my life a whole lot easier once it is built.

There's the rub for lazy me: between now and that happy day lies a tremendous, daunting amount of work. So rather than begin it, I'd rather sit here and eulogize my elderly dragon.

Four friends and I bought the kiln in late 2004. We thought we had a home for it. My studio in Portland was located in an industrial building in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood (a delightful place. I lived in the neighborhood also, and it always reminded me of Sesame Street, if Sesame Street had overlooked Casco Bay.) When I called my studio landlord, he readily agreed we could keep and fire the kiln there --  suspiciously readily, I now see. I thought I had done a pretty good job of describing the kiln and firing, but once he saw it in place, he very politely freaked out. I admit its appearance does not inspire confidence. 

We tried hard to persuade him. We brought him to Portland Pottery to see a gas kiln in action. We submitted a plan in accordance with city codes for fireproofing the studio. He was having none of it. Thankfully he wigged out befpre the kiln was plumbed; I would have really been pissed if we'd taken on all that trouble and expense. 

Next we searched for a home for it in Portland. I visited studios and warehouses; I made a hundred phone calls. No thing. This went on for months, during which time I purchased a home in Augusta, 50 miles away. Shortly thereafter, my studiomate, who is one of the kiln partners and whose space thte disassembled kiln was mostly occupying, finally lost patience and said the kiln had to go, somewhere, anywhere. He needed his space back. 

Though I felt selfish doing it, we took the kiln to my place in Augusta. The fact was it needed a home, and I had a place for it. Unfortunately that meant it was 50 miles away from the other partners. I remained open to moving it should a location arise, but once it was homed, we sort of stopped looking. Good thing, too, because it turned out to be unsuitable for Cone 10 reducation firing. I've been using it as a bisque kiln and doind my firings at the Watershed Center, and longing for the day I could glaze fire at home. Imagine loading over a few days, in good weather: how much easier would that be? Imagine weeding the garden or cleaning up the studio, or, hey, getting a jump on the next firing while the cones fell. 

Now that time is upon me. The brick are waiting, the plan is laid down...It's time to say goodbye, and hello. 





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