Monday, February 10, 2014

Loading the kiln for a February Firing

Yesterday started out nice and chilly, a perfect day to load a kiln.
We layered up in the morning then as the day went on we slowly took off a layer or two, only to add them back later.
It takes us about 5 hours to load and brick the door on the kiln.
We like to get a start in then stop about half way  for a break.
Mark asked me if I had taken any pictures of the back stack.
Me- no.
Whoops, I am falling down on the job.
Now you get a picture of the back and the start of the middle stack.
 On the right you will see some of Marks tools for setting the shelves.
The trick to having tools in the kiln while you are loading is to remember to take them out later.
We have a chisel  that had rolled up against the bricks on the front side of the kiln and sat there through a couple of firings. We found it one day and it still works, looks a bit strange but works. The last firing at Christmas we left a piece of wood that we were using to stand on while loading. It left a nice residue on the bricks.
 It took us both a few minutes to figure out what had happened, we had to laugh at us.
 We need a keeper to follow us around and check on things.

Years ago we had friends who had left the burner ports open on his kiln after he loaded. The next morning after the gas was lit he heard a commotion in the kiln, there was banging and a knocking of pots going on. He quickly turned off the kiln and pulled a few bricks. Out shot their cat who had been peacefully sleeping in the top of the kiln. Our friend just brick up the door and fired on. The cat was fine, just short 1 life.
When the kiln was unloaded they found pots at the top of the kiln with cat prints on them where the cat had hopped from one pot to the other to get away from the flames.
Lucky cat.

 And now the front stack.
We had it bricked just after 4 pm.
Mark was up at the crack of 2 am to light the kiln.
Me. I slumbered away until about 6, lucky me.
Today I see as my day off.
I am baking bread, making granola, doing some bookwork and chatting with family.


Tracey Broome said...

Sort of a day off for me too, at least until 5pm! That cat story is one for a book about potters, lucky it made some noise! Can you imagine.... " hey where is our cat". Haha!

Anna M. Branner said...

Yikes, I agree with Tracey, that kitty story is freaky! Can't wait to see all the beauty to come out of another firing. :)

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

I LOVE kiln photos but yikes....that poor cat! Happily, I have today off too. Yippee!!! Can't wait to see the finished pots later this week.

cookingwithgas said...

Yes, crazy cat story... I needed to repair what I had written, where is my editor!???

Laurie said...

Happy Monday! Sounds like you were having a nice one.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

when I was in college our prof. told us this story: a potter had a firing and couldn't find his cat...the pots were the most beautiful ever and the potter realized the cat had sadly been inside and died and turned to ash, which made lovely glaze...the emperor was passing and loved the work so much he said "make me a pot with glaze like that except HUGE! bigger than me" and so the potter made a pot bigger than the emperor, crawled into the kiln and had his apprentices brick it up and fire it.... :) I was just blogging how boring potters must seem to non-potters when discussing glaze, but that one gets some attn!

Linda Starr said...

thank goodness the cat got out; I am amazed that the tools survived several firings, are you getting snow?

Lori Buff said...

It's always so hard for me to remember to take pictures while loading, we focus on the pots not the photography.
Funny story about the cat, glad it turned out well.