Thursday, June 19, 2008

so discouraging

I mentioned that the last firing was terminated before it completed the cycle. I thought perhaps running the dryer tripped the breaker (even though they are not on the same circuit). So, I loaded the kiln for another glaze firing on Tuesday--determined to have some samples for our 'Cone 6 Club' meeting Wednesday evening. I fired overnight to insure there was no competition for the current supply. But when I check the kiln Wednesday morning, it had been terminated again and this time none of the cones had moved at all. So now it has caught my attention and I spent a good deal of time talk in the manufacturer trying to determine the source of the trouble. They recommended a local kiln serviceman--who I am waiting for now. I know NOTHING about this kiln except how to turn it on and program the firing schedule. And I am learning that that is a mistake! Margaret Brampton wrote today about all the non-clay jobs a potter must perform--and I am poorly prepared for most of them!

We moved here in January and I've been gradually getting the studio set up--for me and for my son to share. It has been a funny process. I have all this 'stuff' to organize in the space--equipment, tools, books, etc--and that was not too hard to do. But then as I began to work I discovered that I needed to have arranged for 'processes' too. So at each stage of production I have to stop and figure out where that process will take place and what I need to have at hand. I think I have worked through most of that now (still waiting for someone to put in a counter and install the small spray booth). But I have now realized that in all my planning I have no place for finished work! I have a rolling cart for greenware and one for bisque ware--but nothing for finished ware! Back to the drawing board!

A small group has been meeting to discuss our experiences with cone 6 glazes for almost a year now. We fluctuate in size from 3 participants to 8 at one time. We have not accomplished a lot but we have enjoyed the society of the evenings. Originally there was some resistance to having any goal or structure but gradually there have been frustrations expressed regarding too much chit-chat. So we are trying to move toward a bit of focus. Currently we select a color to focus on and each member brings samples of their work in that color. We share recipes where requested and discuss problems and solutions. Last night we focused on 'blue'. There was a small turnout (only 4 of us) and we wondered if that was caused by the price of cobalt these days! I am interested in trying to find a way for us to focus on the materials. Comparing similar glazes with one significantly different material. Haven't figured that out yet. We have not had luck making assignments. Everyone is so busy with the rest of their lives that being required to make up a defined test has not worked. It seems we can't dictate where there will be a bit of extra time to meet outside demands. So we stay pretty loose and enjoy the time to talk about glazes, pots and ceramic experiences.


Margaret Brampton said...

Sorry to hear about your kiln problems it is so frustrating and disappointing. Hope you kiln man is able to sort it. All the best!

doug fitch said...

You and Andrew both having kiln troubles, what a nuisance, I hope it's easily remedied.

I know what you mean about the process areas in the workshop, mine is all over the place. It's taking time for the space to develop and it gradually changes and improves as experience dictates. These things are never as straightforward as making a plan on a piece of paper are they?

Good luck with the kiln - I'm firing mine tomorrow, hope the kiln god wakes up and starts doing what he's supposed to!

Patricia Griffin said...

Hi Gay-Your kiln problem sounded very familiar. When I set up my current studio, we put in a new Skutt and it kept shutting off. It wasn't the kiln, but the power supply. Power had been put in by an electrician who assured me there was plenty to run the equipment. But it still took three separate visits and some additional wiring work before the problem was eliminated... Hope yours resolves soon. May the force be with you!