Monday, May 23, 2011

Loaded and Fired

It's difficult to describe what happened in the last few the culmination of months of work.. sweat and blood.. small adventures, individual excursions and experiences, group activities, meetings.. hours and hours of preparation.. people mulling over plans, emailing, talking..thinking.. phone calls... doing. Shit. building a woodkiln is a lot of damn work!

After so so so much energy... seeing something like this actually working and firing..and most important of all, bringing people solidifies even more, that the choice we made to follow clay was the right one. All these smiles are the reason. Every laugh (which never seemed to let up), every thoughtful question..every comment or exclamation of amazement at what was happening kept us rolling through this, seemingly...seamless firing.

It was a couple of days of surreal magic.

It wrapped around Scott's big ole 50th birthday. Quite the milestone I'd say..and a perfect time to fire.

It all began Saturday evening.. getting up to Scotts by about 6:30 pm. A lot of friends and family were there to celebrate Scotts birthday and the first loading and firing of this sweet little kiln. I think throughout the night.. the Happy birthday song was sung to Scott for every cake that was brought..I think there was a total of 4 different cakes. The Earl Grey Chocolate (heaven) from Park Avenue was definitely my favorite.

By midnight we finally had the kiln loaded and a fire started. By 3 am most of our friends had left and it was only Scott and I. I was exhausted..and left Scott to the kiln so I could take a few hours of sleep... I came back, once I heard... I may have been sleep walking..unconsciously worried and checking on the situation..anyways.. Scott kept the kiln going and by the time I came back on for real it was hot enough for the wood to be put on the grate bars.

Throughout the rest of the day Scott was a machine on the wood.. finding the driest dry and giving it a few splits to maximize sufrace and burn ability to get some quick temperature gains while I stoked the firebox and made adjustments as the kiln got hotter. This was my first woodkiln without a pyrometer.. (kids these days are so spoiled!). Neighbor after neighbor.. came through to see the new kiln in action and to ask all kinds of questions. I was glad to oblige and show them what I knew and let them look into the kiln to see the pots and cones. One neighbor, Dave and his family came through..then went home to bring me back a cup of very much needed coffee..and Elk burgers, fresh strawberries and plate of cheese and crackers. Super amazing folks.

Scott never slept..and extended his birthday by another day. He was pretty loopy....and quite the hoot to be around. The both of us were pretty wired..brain dead and just weird. By the end of the firing..a good soak period and 10 lbs of salt..I'm glad to say that the kiln looked pretty even with cone 9s and 10s.

Soon after we clammed the kiln up Matt and Emily showed up with a camera and a bottle of Bulleit whiskey. It was a great way to finish it off. Kiln opening is this Wednesday evening.

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