Weekend catch up.
I spent the evening yesterday at Andy Priestman’s kiln. It was the first firing of his newly added to kiln, it used to be a single chamber and he’s added two more to the structure. I wasn’t there too long in the grand scheme of things really, but hopefully was of some help – maybe. I’d have liked to stay longer but I was very aware of the hour drive back home and the fact that I’d had a busy old weekend all ready (Cub fun day all day sunday and fire clay shifting on saturday etc etc) and there was a lot to be done today. Hopefully next time I’ll be able to be a bit more help to him. The top picture is of Andy stoking later in the evening.
It was hard to get a picture to show you as it’s a very long and skinny structure. This is the front, there’s a tiny stoke hole at the bottom there which I believe is where he started the firing, this is the original chamber of the kiln, the main stoking space is to the left around the corner. Andy had started firing at 6am sunday morning. The first chamber had reached temperature with a flattened cone 10 at about half past four yesterday afternoon I think it was and he’d started stoking the second chamber by the time I got there. It was a bit sticky with the second chamber and some running alterations were made in between stokes to let in some more air to the firebox. We tried Doug’s patented party wood trick too, thanks Doug.
This picture is the loading side of the kiln, all three chambers very neatly bricked up and sealed, have you seen many kilns that neatly bricked up? I certainly haven’t.
This is the firebox door of the second chamber, I was really taken with the nifty door structure, there’s a counterbalance system holding the doors which is a dream to use, hmmm, I need to work out how to get that into my kiln. Anyway I left when the temperature was still playing silly beggars and sticking though it was higher than it had been. There was still a lot of moisture in the kiln, so a lot of energy was being used getting rid of that and that second chamber is a good size so the heat had to be going somewhere and doing some good. I just spoke to Andy who says that with the help of his late shift helper they got all three chambers to temperature and the kiln sealed up by 4.30 this morning, not as late as he’d thought it might be but still one heck of a firing. Andy is taking part in Spring Fling
the weekend after next and all being well there’ll be some lovely new pots to be seen at his place. Dave and Sue you two will love it up there, what a place, you must go, studio number 9, get it in your route plan, then you can come and report back on the results for me.
It was a lovely drive back last night, Andy lives up in the wilds near Glentrool, I met a badger on the road just after leaving his place and then a fox before I got as far as the main road and what felt like a huge owl that glided gently across my car as I was trundling along, what a sight, such a pale underside, beautiful. I need to draw some more owls on my pots soon. This morning was a bright and early start meeting Jason down at the workshop and putting in the arch for the firebox. It looks absolutely huge to me but hey there it is, I suppose I can always brick in space if it’s too big or just do it again but I am reliable informed that it’ll do the trick just fine.
My slightly roughly made former seems to have held up well for the job, looking at it again today I did think again thank goodness I’m not a furniture maker, I don’t think I’d be able to make a living doing that at all.
So there it is finished, I’ll give it a day or so before I remove the former. There’s another skin of bricks to go on there, probably red ones as I’m running short on heavy bricks. That’ll be next weeks job, the rest of this week is for sorting out and starting to tidy up for Spring Fling.
I had a visit from a journalist and photographer from the Galloway News this morning too, just to add to the chaos that was already going on around me. Honestly what must they have thought they were coming too? There I was covered in fireclay in my battered dungarees (albeit freshly cleaned I must add though that was not necessarily planned, rather just a coincidence) with a sun burnt face (I had planned for rain at the Cub fun day, not lovely hot sunshine all day) and scraggy hair and workshop that looks like a bomb’s hit it. Oh well, a fashion model I would not make, good job I just make pots.