Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lots of great news, oh my!

Another great firing!  We had to postpone it for a week due to a tornado warning, but it was worth it!  We had some really great guys come out to lend a hand this time.  Austin & Tom are in the Co-Op program where Mike works and have had some experience firing wood kilns. Usually Mike is trying to give us newbies a crash course in wood firing, but these guys were loving the experience in true "boys playing with fire" form! 

 What happens when you stick a handful of engineers in front of a fire that goes up to 2300 degrees?  They build a wall!  There were some extra kiln shelves sitting there not doing much of anything and looking a little lonely.  Tom was the first to grab a few and prop some shelves against a few posts... it only took Austin a few seconds to follow suit!  We spent a good majority of the firing constructing walls and improving our wonderful fire-shields.  It made the firing much more bearable.  And probably saved a bit of burnt knuckles... maybe. 
The weather for this last weekend didn't start out as ideal. We delayed the start of the kiln, opting to start the firing at 7AM rather than get things going at 3. The firing endured wind, hail, rain and sun as we tried to keep our little wood kiln climbing in temperature. 

 As we got up to peak temp a front came through and the kiln stalled three separate times. With all hands on deck we managed to get the cones bent and a nice half an hour reducing soak and still had time for a nice dinner of Chinese food graciously picked up by Tom on his way back from a short hockey break. Last time the firing took us 20 hours, this time we shaved it down to 14! (Our new wood supply and the extra help added much more heat than we were used to from the previous firing) By that time Austin and Mike looked like they'd been cleaning chimney's all day and I'm sure that we all smelled like it too. We were all pretty tired and ready for bed (Probably suffering from a bit of Carbon Monoxide poisoning). I think we were all glad that the kiln takes three days to cool, because it gave us time to recoup before the unloading.  

We were able to unload the kiln Tuesday night. Mike is like a little kid when it comes to firing the kiln. He can't resist peeking early to see if the firing was successful.  When firing a wood kiln you HOPE you get the glazes to turn out the way you expect, so the opening is especially exciting.  The glazes came out much darker for this firing.  We got a great reduction and the new hearth covers we constructed made sealing the kiln at the end much less of a hassle. The Temmoku reacted with the wood ash in some spots and came out a little matte on some pieces, while the copper purple glaze was almost even over the entire kiln! Some of the lids on a few jars were stuck from ash run and unfortunately, in trying to stack this kiln more efficiently, we had a few cold spots, but that's just one more opportunity to get it right next time. 

I can't wait to add the new ware to the shop, and that's another exciting bit of info!  We are COMBINING our shops!  We will be listing all of the new ware on NightOwlCraftworks, and converting the ware from his old shop to our husband & wife shop.  

What does everyone think of those t's?  We'd like to offer our "Hot Potter" shirts in our shop.  Thoughts?

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