Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mugs delivered,kiln and tiles

 While we were waiting for the kiln to cool I started working on a glaze load for my tile kiln. I have these round disk shaped pads of bisque that I made many moons ago.
Gee, I thought it would be great if these had a hole in the top so that they could be hung.
Me- Mark I want to put a hole in these, can I drill them?
Him- let me see what size drill bits I have.
Me- hummm......
Him- will this one do?
Me- yes.
Him --sets up drill press.
Me- I drilled holes.
He loves when he teaches me something so he caught me working the press.
It worked great.
 When I was done it looked like a termite had been busy in there.
 The inside of the big kiln looks so empty right now but I wanted to talk about this work horse of a kiln. It was built by Mark and I in 1986 with a loan from our bank. Back then it cost just under 5K and that was a lot of money for us to borrow. We had some good advice in the borrow and pay back category so that is what we did.
We built the kiln and then paid it off.
 It has now been in production for 26 years. In that 26 years we have had many firings. I was always going to keep some count of how many fires we did a year but I was just too busy working and raising kids to take that time. Right now we try to fire at least once a month if we can. In the day we fired every 3 weeks. We had one part time employee and she helped keep things cranking. There was a time we had two part time employees and cranked even harder.
Then one day we decided we would down size.
We made a decision that we either had to jump on a big business plan or a smaller one.
 We chose the smaller path.
Make what we want and process it all with just the two of us and that occasional helper.
Yes, I miss those extra hands.
Yes, there are parts of this that I would love someone else to do.
Yes, I would love to get more work out.
But, working with just the 2 of us maintains a control over what is being made that we like.

Now that kiln.
It is still a work horse, seeing some wear these days.
The picture to the left is of the floor bricks. Years of stepping inside with NC red clay dirt on our shoes has given the bricks this wonderful patina. Recently a visitor asked it we salted the kiln because of the color of those bricks.
No salt, just the trail of a lifetime of hard work.

The mugs- delivered!

Many things to work on.
Mark is putting lamps together and this is one handsome crop of lamps. I have picked out 2 no 4- well maybe 6 that I would keep.
I will get some pictures of them.
These are going to look great in someone's home.
Let's get busy.

Cheers to you all!


Dennis Allen said...

Love the bricks.They remind me of worn limestone steps that have seen thousands of feet.

Lori Buff said...

That was 5k well spent, it's a great kiln that looks like it'll fire for many more years. If it could talk...

Hollis Engley said...

I love it when you tell your story, Meredith.

Kellie Jensen said...

I always wondered why those bricks were so different from the others. It makes me a little happy on the inside to know that my feet left their mark on those bricks a few times as well. I always enjoyed the looks on you and Mark's faces as we would unload that kiln. Good memories. :o)

cookingwithgas said...

thanks Dennis- that kiln could tell some stories or two Lori.
Kel- your feet were in that kiln more than once!
Hollis- thanks.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

I love the behind the scenes pottery posts. And those tiles!!! Gorgeous!

Julia said...

You look amazingly skilled at that drill press! I love all of your tiles (is that a busy bee I spy on one?), and always enjoy reading what you share. :)

Laurie said...

I love those bricks! And seeing you at the drill press! Isn't it grand to learn something new?!

cookingwithgas said...

Hi Claudia! I like your in the kitchen blog.

Julia- yes a bee- a busy bee... I always think of you when I am adding bees to anything.

Laurie- we are women with tools!