Thursday, November 05, 2009

if its not one thing...

...its another! A favorite saying between Jim and Kenny--they break into peals of laughter as they chant that over some new challenge. For me, today, it is the kiln. It has been firing for over 24 hours and has not reached ^6 yet. I am wondering if is because I made a mistake entering the schedule or if the kiln has developed a new problem. At ~2140 F there was a bright, glowing yellow light coming out around the rim of the lid and out of each of the peeps EXCEPT the bottom peep--it is dark.

(I did not think to take a photo until the kiln was on the way down--about 1945 F--but it still shows. There are 6 peeps--but only 5 show. And the photo shows that the top 2 peeps are not as bright as the middle two and that the next to the bottom peep is very dull. I do have element problems. Drat...)
Didn't want it to be the elements--they are so expensive. I am so sorry that I don't know enough about electric machines and their care to be able to take care of my kiln. I am totally ignorant in that area (not just that area, unfortunately!)

I had a funny thing happen in the last (bisque) firing. I always put cone packs into the kiln--usually 3, sometimes 4. I have never had the fallen cones break except if I carelessly put then on the table when emptying the kiln--I line them up on the edge of the table to take a photo of the cones to put with the record of that firing. When I was emptying the kiln, I found that the top cone pack had a broken ^5 when I picked it up from the shelf. Curious. The cone was placed near the edge of the 1/2 shelf in the middle of the kiln so the fallen cone melts down over the edge of the shelf. When I removed that shelf I found the broken piece on the shelf below. Strange. Then the next cone pack had done exactly the same thing--^5 broken and sitting on the lower shelf. Very strange. Then I got to the bottom shelf and the ^5 was also broken off--but it was not sitting on the edge of a shelf and there was no broken piece near it on the shelf. Then I saw the broken end sticking out of a element grove. Very strange--so the broken piece had flown across the shelf--inches--to land in the grove. Perhaps that burned out the lower element. But what would cause those cones to break? The ^6 cones were all flat but none were broken. The broken ends of the ^5's were not melted, they looked as if they had just been snapped in two.

Sunday is the San Antonio Potters Guild show/sale. I am participating--sharing a booth with a friend. I don't have much work to show and not enough time to make a lot. So I've been working pretty steadily since early October. (t won't be the end of the world if I don't get anything from this long, strange firing--but I'd like to have this work to add to what I do have.) As I've been working for this deadline I've been very aware of how much I need to be spending time experimenting and exploring in the studio. Maybe I feel guilty spending a lot of time there and neglecting family things--with the show coming up I could justify to myself (and family) disappearing into the studio for most of the days, most of the past month. But I see so clearly that if I want to 'be a potter' I've got to commit to it on a more regular basis. Having the show as a deadline is a great excuse/motivator to be working away. But to really grow in my work I've got to work at it more consistently--without the deadline. I loved the line in the new issue of "Pottery Making Illustrated" on the editors page: "If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done." That is my story, for sure!

No comments: