Thursday, June 24, 2021

Goodbyes are Hard...Even this One


The last firing of the old kiln is loaded. I'm feeling, as the cool kids used to say, some kind of way. 

I built this, with my own hands. I laid out the plans & placed each brick. It served me well. Could I have done better? Why, yes! But it worked, and it changed my life. 

Since I left SIUE in 1992 I always planned on building a salt or soda kiln. I didn't know it would take 18 years to make it happen! And when it did, my work could come into its own. 

I am excited, of course, for the new kiln: a hinged door! tice as much stacking space. It's an investment but so worth it. Not to mention: check out that ever-flattening arch. I could fix it again, but I'd have to keep fixing it every year, until I couldn't anymore, and then I'd be desperate. If I have learned one thing as an adult it's to deal with stuff before it's a crisis. 

Anyway! One last voyage. I've spent 11 years learning this kiln, & it gives me good results every time now. Here's hoping this is the best ever. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Tomorrow! cried Toad

Tomorrow!" cried Toad. "I will do it all tomorrow!"

It me. I'm Toad. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

First Raku, Broken Toe & All

The first raku of the 2021 season was a great success! It was a promising beginning. I made some minor adjustments to the kiln, trying to get that perfect fuel/oxygen balance in the firing chambers, the perfect interval of time between pulling the pots from the chamber & placing them in the post-firing reduction chambers (which is a fancy way of saying, piles of sawdust under trash cans!)

This flame? The perfect backpressure. 

We got some fabulous results; some from Laguna glazes, some from mixed glazes. Next session my  

This one is FAB - I actually do have this

R-13, a glaze available from Laguna
I don't have this White Crackle recipe, sorry!
Bright Buff, also available from Laguna

It was a long & sometimes uncomfortable day for my poor little tootsie. I am taking today to put it up & hopefully give it like a second to heal; but no more than a second because I need to be unloading, glazing, and firing my orders. 

My Tuesday classes will be rakuing next session. Already planning some things to try! 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

It's Always Something

 The painters finished our house this week - I have been wanting to get this done for 10 years! 15, really, but 10 years ago I did as much as I could myself, and then just had to tolerate being the junky-looking house on our street. Painters cost money! & rightfully so; it's a shit-ton of work, and people deserve to be paid for work. Anyway it's finally done, & we are delighted with the results.

Next on the list is, of course, the kiln rebuild. Tyler stopped by yesterday to take some measurements & assess how much brick from the existing kiln could be reused. In the meantime I am working on one last firing cycle before the big teardown. Loading a bisque today & firing tomorrow... 

...only slightly hindered by my broken toe.

Yep, I'm hobbling. I stubbed it hard on a rock, and it blew up & turned purple. It can be hard to know if a toe is actually broken or just bruised but a friend who works as an ER doc saw a photo I posted on social media & called it: "That is definitely broken." 

Not that it matters; the treatment is the same. Buddy-tape it to the toe beside it, and stay off it. LOL, as if that is an option. I can put off gardening & housecleaning, but I have classes to teach & a kiln to load, so putting my feet up & eating bon-bons is just not in the cards. 

My poor little toe!
 It's always something, isn't it? One damn thing after another. But I like to keep in mind: if that's my worst problem, there are no problems. 

Anyway! Off to load my bisque. I'll do a little bit, and then take a break if the toe starts to throb. 

If you'd like to pre-order a mug from the first firing of the new kiln, you can do that here. The rebuild is happening one way or another, but pre-orders will help pay for it.