Friday, October 13, 2006
A Hard Firing....
Another firing was accomplished over a two day period in the groundhog kiln. As firings go, it was a little more difficult and protracted than usual. Cooler weather was called for by the weather guy, but I swear I didn't feel it. I did feel the 30% chance of rain all night and into the next day. It blew under the shed and dampened the wood a bit, slowing down the process and making things real uncomfortable. Above is a photo of some folk art that came out of the firing. It is based on the Petersburg boats which hauled bales of cotton down the Savannah River to the cotton mills in Augusta, GA.
Me, being the trooper that I am, just kept on chunking wood. I stopped and stirred the coals frequently as the wood was not burning as efficiently as usual, probably due to some dampness.
Things finally got roaring pretty good at the 18 hour mark, about 4:00 a.m. In the photo above, the kiln is starting to be blasted. The flame runs from one end of the kiln to the other and then up about 12 feet of chimney! In other words, the flame travels about 32 linear feet! I'm bent over poking and kicking in all of the wood I can get in at once. The flame is allowed to burn back down and then the stoking cycle is repeated. It goes on like this for a couple of hours. Hopefully, I stop in time and don't melt down the pots in the front row.
Well, you'll never guess what happened! You know all of that black smoke in the previous photo? It brought us some company in the early morning hours! Yes, a whole great big ladder truck with a fire crew came rolling up to the kiln. We had quite an exchange as they tried to figure out what I was doing. They thought I might be adding a little accelerant to my fire, which I assured them I hadn't. I thought we finally came to some sort of understanding....
I cranked it back up again, making up for lost time that the fire guys cost me. Here, the flames race up the chimney. This is a view from the rear. Some bricks have been removed from the opening in the chimney to act as a passive damper which slows down the draw of the chimney. A few hours later as I was just about to finish, the fire truck rolled in again. This time, some of the fire guys were real angry. I tried to talk about the understanding we had reached 2 hours earlier, but they seemed to have forgotten about it. They were intent on revealing the operating costs of the giant machine and crew. We exchanged phone numbers and addresses. They probably want to send a Christmas card or something!
This is exactly my expression! You could'a knocked me over with a feather. I was real tired at the end of it all, which was about 28 hours straight.
Here's some of the pots as they were unloaded a few days later. I put just a smidge of rutile in the glaze batch and it sure went a long way! You can see it in the form of bluish highlites here and there. I can't wait until the next firing!