Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I can't believe it was July 4th.  I couldn't have been THAT busy.... was I??  I just logged on to post on my blog, 'cause I knew it's been a while... and there it was... July 4th.  Wow... sry 'bout that!  I remember thinkin' I have this really big show comin' in late August, the 21 and 22,  and I scored an excellent location this year.  So I figured I better make the best of it and... then I woke up.  It was a blur.  I remembered thinkin' I have two loads to fire, the July firing and one more just before the show.  I don't know how many of you have ever fired a wood-fire kiln, even a smaller one like mine, but for doing it by yourself, it's a lot of work. Not that I'm complainin', I like doing it, it's just that it takes a lot.  A lot of preperation, a lot of throwing, trimin', bisque firin' and glazin'... rememberin' (the "g" works on this key board... it's just my way of doin' this writin' stuff ...) what you wanted to try this time and what you were not going to try again. And then there's the "bizen" type ware, a fine particled, iron rich, clay body that works nice in the back of the kiln.  I had been doing tests the last few firings, trying to get the right blend so it would mature at cone 9, above the flues, and that had to be included.  Then you have to wad them all, load 'em a certain way, put in the door, and fire away.  The July firing went 13 hours and the August 16th firing took just shy of 15 hours.  By yourself, that's a lot of concentration. But... I like the results. 
So... I had this show,  I did well and had a great time with the new wood-fired raku kiln.  They put me in charge of it, 'cause I am the wood-firer guy, and it worked great.

We had the problem of firing freshly glazed pieces and needed to dry them quickly, so I thought of riggin' up a drying "kiln" next to it.  I made it kind of like a beehive type kiln, and heated it with my weed burner that I use for some of the candling time on my kiln at home.  We threw some embers in there and it worked very well.  We ended up having 10 minutes of drying, about a 20 minute firing time and 10+ minutes of reduction in the cans with coarse wood shavings. Folks were very pleased with a 50-ish minute turn over time and we got some great lusters as well.

I had my display up with a new sign, including a before and after of my last firing for folks to see (teachers, they never quit...)  so they would get an idea of the process. Here's a couple of pics I took of my set up.

I will show you the last firings in a day or two.  Nice to get back to blogging.