Thursday, August 17, 2023

Monday, August 7, 2023

A Sigh of Relief

Ooo looks pretty good!

Pretty good indeed!

Even in the back!

A few pieces from the firing

What a relief! After what I started referring to as the Murphy's-Law firing, I was very anxious what the results might be. Well, I can put that to rest - it's all peachy-tan & pearl grey, no disasters of any kind. I did have one plate warp too badly even to be a second, & one lidded jar crack, but every firing yields a few failures. 
Takeaway: those burner/blower/damper setting once again produced results. I'm starting to get this kiln dialed in. 
I'll photograph these properly on Wednesday (assuming my dental appointment isn't too horrible) and list some in the online shop. Of the rest, some will go to Portland Pottery, & some to the Maine Potters Market; but the majority will be held back for the Common Ground Fair. See you there, September 22, 23, & 24. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

The Murphy's-Law Firing

What's inside?? I hate not knowing

 Man, I was not even lying when I called this the Murphy's Law firing! Let's have a brief recap of all the things that went wrong, chronologically:

  1. I originally planned to fire Wednesday BUT, though I candled overnight, first one then the other of the pilots fluffed out. I caught the right one pretty early, but woke up to the left blown out around 4 am.
  2. I made the fateful decision to relight & candle for only another hour before turning the burners proper on
  3. This is a big one: THE CONE PACK BLEW UP. 
  4. I let the kiln cool & unloaded the entire thing to eliminate the cone pack debris, reloaded, & rescheduled the firing until Friday (today)
  5. I thought I had left the hex (or whatever it was!) behind, because this shaped up to be a picture-perfect firing, just like the July firing was. Humming right along. 
  6. Yeah no
  7. Halfway through the application of the soda, the sprayer stopped working. Not clogged - that I could fix. Just wouldn't take on any pressure, so couldn't spray. At this point I had a gallon of soda mix left and cone 9 was over. 
  8. What to do, what to do?? It might be fine as is, but it might not! I left Doug to keep an eye on the kiln & started driving around town looking for a suitable sprayer, with a metal wand. I had NO luck with this. 
  9. But I did find a little hand-held pump spray bottle, which I hoped might serve to get the soda into the chamber. But the time I got home 11 was over up top & ten was down on the bottom. 
  10. I sprayed the rest of the soda anyway. I dunno how well it worked. By the time I finished & gave the soda time to vaporize & burn clear, eleven was flat all around. Like, flat-flat. 
I can not stand the wait!! This could still be an amazing firing or it could be all manner of fucked up.

There are lessons to take, of course, some of which I already knew; always make cone packs WAY in advance, always do a full candle, always have a back-up sprayer (I ordered 2 online today.) The truth is, we never runout of mistakes to make, but - a further truth - things turn out ok a ridiculous amount of the time. Let's hope this is one of those times.