Thursday, 17 November 2011

Last Orders for Christmas

Pots waiting for their fiery fate
After what has seemed ages, we have enough pots assembled to fire the Thrussington kiln. Although the kiln is only just over twelve cubic feet, it takes an awful lot of small vessels to fill it and it needs to be tightly packed to get the best results and be economically viable.
The wood is stacked and seasoned after a long dry summer, we are at last ready to start packing the kiln.
I normally work alone with help from Laura, so it was good to hear from Steve who wanted to come along and share the experience. He came armed with a couple of tea bowls for the kiln, chocolate fudge cake and flowers for Laura so it was impossible to turn him away.
It takes all day to pack the kiln, close the wicket and get everything ready for an early start in the morning. We check the weather, only torrential rain will stop us now, so a dismal, grey cloudy day presents no real problems. A big fry up is the key to a good firing and plenty of tea and once the Chickens are out it's time for Laura to light the fire.

Usually the small fire takes hold quickly and we have to hold back the fire and keep the long flames produced from burning softwood from licking the pots. For some reason the fire was reluctant to go anywhere, maybe it was the high humidity and damp wood from the top of the pile, but three hours in we were still only two hundred degrees in the chamber and things were going very slowly. Moving to the top of the fire bars and reducing the air into the kiln got things moving along and at the six hour mark we started body reduction. With all the cones over and an even colour top and bottom we did our final reduction, allowed the atmosphere to clear and closed up and called it a day. Just over twelve hours and it felt like it would be a good firing.

It was three days before we could open the kiln. Always an anxious part, quick peek into the spy holes and confirm the cones were all flat, we slowly take out the wicket. The tops of the big pots at the top looked good and the rush of warm air met us as the wicket is dismembered and stacked for next time.

We all eagerly squeezed into the narrow opening and looked at the contents of the kiln, seeing new pots for the first time, never exactly as envisaged, but exciting all the same. It was indeed a good firing, some real beauties waiting to be discovered in the midst of the body of the chamber, still warm and pinging as the glaze settled. The finale to two months of work and thinking already of the next firing and the little changes one might undertake to make it even better.

New Pots for Sale

1 comment:

  1. You had a long dry summer! Heavens above, lucky you. Wood here is just as wet if not wetter than it was before the summer started!
    See you in the Park in July I see, nice.hx