Thursday, March 3, 2011

We all have our job

Today we are doing firing number two in the new smaller gas kiln.
We loaded the kiln on Sunday but Mark was out and about and I am not ready to fire the kiln solo ....yet......
So this morning we lit, lighted,the kiln and we are chugging along.
I am hanging with Mark and learning the fine art of listening to the burners.
Don't you love the sound of a gas kiln- like a heartbeat.
Anyway Mark is trying to teach me the forgotten art of gas fire.
When we were students I would start the kiln and do the early turn ups and then Mark would come in and finish the kiln.
We had two small kids and I would pick them up from the school's daycare and head home for Mother duty so I really never learned to fire the gas kiln.
Then when we built the BIG gas kiln Mark took that on too.
We both did everything, throwing, bisque fire, glaze, load but he fired.
I have a goal that I will learn how to fire this new kiln.
And now that it is out there I guess I better!

I am thinking about marketing my brush holder- any takers?
What do yo think 9.95?
I think I can get them in a USPO box for cheap shipping.

We saved some seconds to fire and this is how I heat them up.
I place them on top of the electric kilns just after they are just finish firing and then I will place them in my baby test kiln to  make sure I have heated them up enough.
This helps keep them from blowing up.
We once put a pitcher that had sat around about 3 years in the big gas kiln- blew the bottom right out of that pitcher.
Lesson learned.

This is a vase we also have in this kiln firing,
The first go round these had big crawls on them.
I set them aside for the first couple of firings in the new kiln.
I put one in the last kiln and it fired up really nice.
Let me see if I can do that again.
It does help to get the pot nice and warm before putting on the glaze.
Then wait for it to dry - I put the iron red on- then when it was dry I put some ash glaze on top.
Teapots! I got two in and I wanted all 4 in.
I am still use to that BIG kiln that ate pots!
Not so with the little gal we have now.
A name- what could we call this little kiln.
Do you name your kilns?
The folks who bought our electric kilns do.
I use to name our cars but never named the kiln.

Better go check the temperature and pretend I am paying attention!


Michèle Hastings said...

meredith, we are in the same boat...
when john and i were together i worked full time outside the pottery and he always did the firings. my job was to bring dinner to the studio and watch the end of the firing. when he died i was left with this big ass kiln that i knew very little about. :-(
jeff and i lived in the same town and he came and helped me fire the kiln. i made sure he was always there when it was time for reduction. i still haven't fire the gas kiln completely solo but i am determined to learn to do it on my own!
... your pitcher that blew must have gotten wet at some point and that is probably why the bottom went on it.

Michèle Hastings said... for names - i have been calling our new little kiln "baby kiln" but that sort of sounds like we are cooking babies! i told jeff we should call it "lil' kurt" because our friend kurt in NH designed it for us (and he is little too!)
the NH kiln didn't have a name.

Dan Finnegan said...

I always name my kilns...'Peardrop'...'Butternut' current kiln is called 'Clare' after the farm name (Claremont). Cars, too. I don't know why...

Gary's third pottery blog said...

my 2 kilns are Mickey and Minnie :)

Carolanne said...

I have friends who have had bad and even disastrous results firing gas kilns. It happens, but they lived through it and went on to be great potters. Knowing that failure is not the end of the world, gave me the confidence to fire my new gas kiln solo. In fact, I had never fired any gas kiln before, but I filled it full of my pots and just did it. It worked out fine, not perfect, but fine. It's a continual learning experience. I look forward to the growth. I named my kiln: "The Merry Kiln" after my mother (named Mary) who died this past fall. She always told me to follow my passions. This kiln is my new passion.

Tracey Broome said...

If little bitty Siglinda Scarpa can fire that great big kiln of hers at the age of 70 I know you can do it. And my friend Barbara is in her 70's and firing her kiln, so you go girl! As for Michele cooking babies... don't do that:)
I like the brush holder, maybe if it had a nice glaze on it....

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this posting!! I am soon to fire my new-to-me gas kiln for the first time, never having fired a gas kiln~ so what you and others have commented on give me great inspiration :) WE CAN DO IT!!!! I appreciate all the reminders that perfection rarely comes, but we can learn from every experience. Best of luck as you go forward.

As for naming kilns, I have never done that but do feel this gas kiln of mine deserves a name...I plan to wait until after the first firing to see what kind of personality she has(yes, already decided it is a she).

Patricia Griffin said...

I'll be your west coast distributor for the brush holder!

cookingwithgas said...

Thanks for the chuckles on naming kilns.
I am mulling a few names around in my head and I am sure one will stick.
And no babies were harmed in the firing or naming of the kiln- don't want the baby brigade coming after us.
I will post about the firing and results tomorrow.
And PG- yes you can be our west cost distributor _ but this would call for a trip to do research on the market out there....

laura weant johnson said...

love the idea of naming kilns...they do become part of the family! can't wait to see the please!!!!

Laurie said...

A very spiffy brush holder! Looks similar to what I used to raise the chicken waterer yesterday.

cookingwithgas said...

Laurie :)! are you infringing on my new ideas!
Laura and all pictures to come.

smartcat said...

I call my kilns Big Mama and Little Sister....both are electric......the names evolved on their own.