Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Exciting opening!

We unpacked the kiln on Friday and what a day of revelations. I had peeked through the door late Wednesday and unbricked on Thursday removing some of the denser pack of mugs at the front of the kiln to save time. We knew that time was at a premium on Friday as Steve was coming from Norfolk and Lisa coming up from London and nobody wanted to get caught in the heavy snow which was forcast. There was a lot of great work which came out. The damper in the chimney had definitly worked with some great body colour. A little bit of oxidation at the front which we put down to the height above the fire box and plan to pack tight up to the edge of the fire box for the next firing as well as tumble stacking to side stoke on. We had a bit of melon skinning on some of the glazed and unglazed surfaces spread around the kiln and usually localised to one small part of a pot; on the same pot there could also be very fluid areas so more research needs to take place to try and determine at what stage of the firing this happens. I have my own theories. Below are some images of the unpacking.

and some of my work which came out :-))

I will be showing at Ceramics in Charnwood in May. Earth and Fire at Rufford Country Park in June and Art in Clay at Hatfield in July. But more about those closer to the time :-)

Monday, 21 January 2013

The waiting game begins

We finished the firing at around 1.30pm on Sunday with cone 15 tipping at the front and cone 12 at the back. We had been stoking cedar logs and pine through the front and pine slats through the side stoke for most of the night with the damper pushed quite far in and strong back pressure.

At about 4am the active damper was pulled out about 6", and the passive dampers put in. The undergrate air opened and Steve began quicker stoking as the coals burned down faster. At about 11am we sealed the back side stoke and concentrated on fast stoking through the front to bring the temperature up, still with good back pressure until about 1.30. We then sealed the undergrate air and lower stoke holes, pushed the damper right in and filled the firebox for the final time. As the flame started to recede in the chimney I capped it with a large kiln shelf. Job done!

 Many thanks go to all those who helped Steve and I with this firing:

Jim Gladwin
Carl Gray
Ed Penn
Lisa Hammond
Sarah  Villeneau
and my fab daughter Georgia for being patient while Daddy stoked the kiln.

Snow fell heavily last night and this morning I was treated to an ornithological treat with Fieldfares and Wax wings in the hedge visible through my office window.

Fingers crossed until the unpacking on Friday :-))

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Going into the 3rd night

It has been another good day today. Many thanks to Jim and Carl for doing a great job over last night and to Ed. one of our students for helping out side stoking for a good part of the day. The kiln has responded well and we now have cone 13 (1350 C) over at the front and cone 10 (1280 C) at the back. The chimney damper has now been closed a little to soak the kiln and increase the reduction for the first half of the night and will start to open it up again to push for the final temperature in the early hours with a view to finishing in the early afternoon tomorrow.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Snowy firing day 2

The firing is going well, lit the kiln early yesterday morning and built the fire gently over the day.The damper which I built into the chimney is working great and giving much  more control over the reduction and we are reducing the kiln heavily. The front of the kiln is around 1260 now with the back in the mid 1100s still with 2 night and 2 days to go. It's been snowing pretty much since the kiln was lit but has been heavier today which makes stepping out from the kiln shed pretty refreshing

We are now going into the second night with Carl and Jim taking over the stoking, giving Steve and I the night off for an early start tomorrow. My van is now covered in snow so hoping this adds a bit more insulation for a good nights sleep. Slept pretty well last night in minus figure temperature with 3 duvets and a sleeping back. Think another beer may help.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Packed and ready to go!

The packing began late Thursday morning and as if by magic the temperature plunged. We finished the pack at about 8pm on Friday night with just a last few pieces to place this morning (Monday). The kiln is now fully packed. As we are having a gap between packing and firing I have put a small heater inside the kiln to keep the frost off and dry everything out. I'll keep this in until Wednesday morning and then brick up the door and put a gas burner in to continue the drying. I'll light the kiln first thing on Thursday and then its heads down untill probably mid Sunday. Forcast is looking cold but more importantly dry as there are few things worse than trying to cut 10 pallets of wood in the rain :-(

First stack of shelves

 Second layer behind the back side stoke grate.

Back and front middle sections packing good and tight around the arch.

The completed pack.

To top it off the snow started to fall, and there is more forcast over the next few days.

Unfortunatly the streaming will not be happening. However we are hoping that some parts of the firing may be filmed and uploaded at a later date. I'll update this blog as the firing progresses.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Happy new year!!

What better way to kick off 2013 than with the first firing of the year. Preparations are now well underway for the next firing in a couple of weeks. Packing the kiln on 10th - 11th Jan and then firing it the following Thursday till Sunday (17th to 20th). I'm going back to firing for 4 days and have 10 pallets of offcuts + a good pile of cedar and assorted hardwood logs all nicely seasoned ready for the off.

All the work is now glazed and ready for packing but here are a few images of work as it was drying.

I am hoping that the firing will be streamed live online and will hopefully put up a link in the near future. I will update this blog again once we start packing.