Sunny Scotland Fine For Firing

Pots poised, glazed and waiting to be transported down to my wood kiln, this was monday. I had the two best expert helpers that I could have wished for with me this time. I am really pleased that I did the first firing on my own, all that time ago, back in May 2011. It was important to me, this time however I wanted a bit of support that meant I didn’t need to explain it all down the phone line. I’ve had lots of offers of help from lots of people but at the moment I need folk that I know know what they are doing to help me till I get the hang of it. Once I think I know what I’m doing then hopefully I will be able to help other folks help me if that makes sense.

I’d asked Doug if he would come and he was up for that and so I asked Alex too, and so they both came up. I will admit I was stressing a tad before they came, Alex was my tutor at uni and is the reason that I make pots and I am always aware that I really don’t want him to be dissappointed in me. Doug of course though he is my good friend is a damn brilliant potter and although I don’t want to make pots like Doug’s and my work is very different it’s hard not to compare yourself with other people. I have just been told though that that is like being Moses and then running up against God and trying to compare yourself to him (which apart from being a brilliant comment is a huge compliment)!
I have been making pots since January for this firing really, and as I made them I was trying to make simple things not massively decorated as I know that they are likely to be sacriligious offerings to the kiln gods of brown and bubbly glazes. However of course I failed on that front and they are all trailed as much as ever they are.

Since the first firing I’ve bought some more kiln shelves so with much discussion and a lot of help we got a far better pack in there than the first time. This picture is the start of the front of the kiln being packed. There’s one stack of big rectangular shelves in at the back and then one smaller one and one of two triangular ones at the front. The chamber is 3 x 3ft.

These are 2 of 4 funny wee worried men that I popped in all naked, no slip and no glaze, no wonder they look worried now that they’ve seen that they are placed right next to the place that the flame comes into the chamber. They will have gotten a hammering hopefully, in a good way.

So here’s the full pack, cones in place, the big jug top right is one of Doug’s and the big pancheon at the top too. There are 5 of Alex’s wee bare jugs down under the back shelves too. Those cones bottom right aren’t there anymore, they got knocked over late on in the firing – oops!

Bye bye pots. All bricked up, we fired yesterday, it was a brilliant day for it, sunny, dry, bit of a breeze, mild, lovely. I’m so glad they got a bout of good weather while they were here. We started at half 8 in the morning, a bit late compared to the last time.

The pyro had a funny turn at 200 degrees and we didn’t have it for the next 5 hours or so. We just stoked away, never really needed to force it, it didn’t get stuck anywhere, it just kept burning and building heat – good thing really as that’s the basic intention I suppose. The pyro came back in the afternoon and read 850 I think it was, the top was substantially hotter than the bottom so we spent a bit of time soaking it to even it out.

Much tea was drunk as you can imagine. Any offers of a clean pinny for the waitress gratefully received.

We didn’t get a picture of the three of us which was pretty rubbish, I’m annoyed about that.

As I say it was a beautiful day. Good to show off my little part of the world looking glorious.

Here’s Alex working away. It’s great having him as a friend.

Here is the fire box burning out the last of the wood just before we clammed it all up. It was a pretty fast firing, not even ten hours before we were heading back here for fish and chips and a well earned beer. So it’s still at about 250 degrees, maybe I’ll crack it tomorrow or maybe I’ll wait till saturday. Will see what it’s like in the morning.

Until then I am off for an early night as I have been falling asleep all over the place today. Alex and Doug left this morning and I fell asleep again then this afternoon I fell asleep on the floor in front of the fire, couldn;t even make it to the settee! then I fell asleep in the bath and then almost in my dinner. I am exhausted! Sweet potty dreams all.
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13 Responses to Sunny Scotland Fine For Firing

  1. " I will admit I was stressing a tad before they came, Alex was my tutor at uni and is the reason that I make pots and I am always aware that I really don't want him to be dissappointed in me." This part made me almost teary – I totally get that! Enjoyed seeing the pics. You are who you are and your pots stand out as your own. Looking forward (maybe almost as much as you) to seeing the kiln opening! I'll bet it's tremendous!

  2. jim behan says:

    Best of luck tomorrrow. I'm sure you will get great ones.

  3. cannot wait to see the outcome!

  4. Susan says:

    Alex and Jack Doherty are the reason why I make ceramics too.Alex could never be disappointed in your work.We have to take what they teach and run with it as our own.Looking forward for the opening photographs.

  5. oh those are some good lads there that come and help and serve tea…Fingers crossed, get some sleep and tomorrow maybe all your dreams will come true.

  6. kateuk says:

    Potting really is so much more exciting and scary than painting- the thought of sealing months of work up and not knowing quite what will come out at the end…and playing with fire…makes my paint and canvas so mundane! I love the look of the unfired pots- soft, almost like mushrooms , soft and mysterious:just as fungus aren't plants but they aren't animals either the unfired pots aren't just clay but also not fully pots… yet…

  7. From the beginning, I've thought of you as Moses, Hannah. Except for the beard, of course …Looks like a great firing crew. Let's see the results!

  8. Dennis Allen says:

    Best wishes for some fabulous results.Like Nancy, I get that you don't want to disappoint anyone. Knowing your standards and how you push yourself, I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with a pot that pleases you..

  9. Dan Finnegan says:

    Holy Moses is about right! Make sure to save me a piece…I'll have to have something from each firing, of course. It does look like you had a stunner of a day…that should bode well. That and the migrant workers that helped you along!

  10. Cannot WAIT to see. But probably not as anxious as you….

  11. I am so so envious!!! As I was reading this, I was sooo wishing I was there! One of these days, I am saving all of my pennies and coming over there when you are firing!

  12. matthew says:

    Hey HannahGood luck with the firing. Hope the kiln is full of stunners!

  13. Kerstin Gren says:

    Hi Hannah, how exciting to see this. I wish you good luck for tomorrow!

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