Friday, November 2, 2012

November firing

There was a delay in the schedule this past week with Sandy coming in to cause a shift in the weather.
We found the open door on Wednesday to load the kiln, brick the door and fire.
Mark, to take advantage of the lower winds slept a few hours, and then was up to light the kiln by 2 am.
By the time I rolled out of bed at 4:30.
( not really I laid there like a slug until 6...) he had things well on the way.

My feeling on this fire is it is truly out of my hands.

Then again there are points where it is all out of our hands. There are always new variables to any firing being it Raku, low fire electric, wood, gas or just tossing something in a pit. It all has moments of wonder, wonder what this will do, and surprise, gosh I thought that was going to be......

In working through these mugs I have put some thoughts together.
First I thought this would just be a breeze. I mean what could possible go wrong?  We have done large orders before and this one we could easily work in with what we were doing. What I did not factor in was the use of a new to us stamp, how best it would work and how this would factor into the deadline.

Our usually policy is that I like 6 months to a year to say yes to a large order. That way if there are bugs you can slowly work them out. This time we took this as a rush order. Instead of being able to fire a few at a time we would place all of them in the large kiln to fire all together. We have done this before but not with a new element tossed in the mix.

When we made the last round of stamped mugs we lost more. We had planned to lose some but we now stepped outside our numbers and we went below our target.
We loaded 78 mugs in the kiln to fire. Of those 78 there are possibly, more than likely going to be some loss.
We think that some of the added stamps have the potential to crack.
Trust me if they do I will try to explain later why I think they did.
So with that there might be more loss.

I had to mentally let this go and not worry myself into a corner where we did nothing. In all industries there are success and failure. We must all fail at times in order to learn. We have to look at the outcome of this as part learning experience.
I thought to myself the other day that potters or artist of any type need to accept failure as part of what we do. There are time, many times, that we have to mourn the loss, take the bite, and then press on. Success comes to us all in many ways. There are times in your life that you just chug along tossing your work out like apple seeds sprouting goodness throughout. Then there are times that no matter what you do it just does not happen. Maybe success can be counted in the ways you don't give up, that you go back again and again looking for an answer to the issue.
Mark and I are already working this one through the thought processes of how to do it different and better.

The pots are cooling with no looking at all today.
Tomorrow we can start looking even though a look will not tell what all is in there.

On another note- if this is less than we hope for I keep saying to myself. You have your home, you are warm, you are alive, you can walk and talk. There are many folks that lost their homes and treasures, can't contact their love ones are beside themselves with worry.
This, the mugs, a pebble in the steam.

Don't forget to reach out how you can.



Kellie Jensen said...

You have a great perspective on this, and I think sometimes we all need to be reminded of what really matters and to just keep chugging along. You are an excellent roll model. Thanks for the reminder. :o)

Dennis Allen said...

Fingers crossed.

Tracey Broome said...

When my pieces were pulling themselves apart I got to where I didn't even want to open the kiln after a firing. It did give me a great lesson in accepting loss though. You just have to go with the flow.....

smartcat said...

Toes crossed that the kiln gods will smile on you. When I think about how many things can go wrong it's not surprising that so many potters are a superstitious lot. Sometimes I think the great thing is much is successful. It's so trite to say that we learn and grow from our mistakes, but.....
You are right of course, we have so much that we take for granted. Keep on potting!

Lori Buff said...

If we didn't have some loss then we wouldn't have as much joy from the great pieces. Of course I still look forward to kiln openings, mine, yours, other bloggers, it doesn't matter, it's always Christmas.

Shannon said...

Lovely post, Meredith. Indeed going thru the list of "grateful that I have" is a regular and grounding thing for me. Pot on!

Laurie said...

It's obvious you've worked through this, to come to peace with things as they are. I do hope when you're finally able to see, there are smiles all around.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

no kidding, it is great to be alive, warm and dry with water and food!