By the Light of the Fire at 3am
It's 3am - do you know how hot your kiln is?
We spent Easter weekend on the mountain. We moved the kiln from the garage at our rental in town, up to the mountain. All 550 pounds of it :D We got her all set up and spent the weekend firing the kiln twice. Once on Friday night and once on Saturday night. Learning the nuances of air flow and fuel, heat work, gas pressure, barometric pressure and altitude has been challenging, interesting, frustrating and amazing. Getting the kiln to 2350 degrees (cone 10) has been harder on the mountain than we anticipated. In short... altitude makes it hard. We are taking what we learned and adjusting accordingly. We certainly didn't expect this to be easy. Nothing on the mountain is - unless you count the sunrises by the campfire or the joy that dog gets when his feet touch the mountain ground.
We took turns monitoring the kiln and sleeping. The weekend spent camping out in the potting shed with sleeping bags and a fire in the woodstove. We love being on this adventure! Each half hour, checking the kiln temp - kerosene lamp in hand - looking up at the stars - the only sound is the hum of the kiln.
Sleepy, yet filled with anticipation - the kiln was ready to open at 2am on Saturday night. We unloaded and reloaded it within an hour.
We had some neat pieces come out of the kiln and had some epic fails - which seems typical at this point. Over the course of two bisque firings and 2 glaze firings - 8 bento boxes went in... and sadly, only 3 will be available in the next update. We are going to try switching clay bodies to find one that works better for making bento boxes in this particular kiln. It's hard not to be a little heart sick when a piece you pour your love into doesn't work out - but that's pottery. I used to joke that the sure fire way to ruin a piece is to show it to ANYONE before it's been glazed fired :D - Rest assured - even if you don't see me making the beloved bento boxes - I am working on them behind the scenes to bring them to you in a future update.
Always working on something, being flexible, learning not to love a piece TOO much.... it's all a process. One we are blessed to be part of.
Next on the mountain projects list: finish the potting shed walls and loft area, decide upon a glazing station set up and continue dialing in the kiln.
The easy road is unremarkable. The memories we are building on the mountain will last forever. Each challenge is an opportunity to learn, laugh and love what we are doing.
Shop update: April 17th - 9am pacific time