Saturday, July 11, 2009


Yesterday was the last day of the class and as such, we had a lot of work to do. A lot of pots to glaze. A lot of pots to fire. A lot.
Here is the class photo. Peter, our teacher, is second from the left in the back. He is a great teacher. Very patient and willing to help. The students were Erica, Ken, Jose, Ralph, Sean, and myself.
Peter was also willing to pull out the big heavy pot that I wasn't wanting to risk dropping. By this time my arms were getting sore and a little shaky.
I used a different set of muscles from the ones that I normally do. Grabbing objects with long tongs and really really not wanting to drop them is more difficult that one would think.
You can see a bunch of pots sitting on the top of the kiln. This warms them up a bit so that there is less shock when they get put into the kiln.

And some times you have to bend and stoop. Keep in mind that yesterday was the hottest day of the summer so far and we had to put on protective clothing because the kiln is nearing 1000 degrees. It was really hot sweaty work.
We fired late into the night. Erica's husband came by with their two beautiful dogs.
When the sun goes down you can really see how hot the pots are when they come out of the kiln.
You can see the fire too as the paper that we put in the barrel ignites.
In this photo, you can also see Heather, who is a potter and LOVES to load and unload the kilns. I was more than willing to step aside and let her take a few turns.
And the smoke. I really smelt bad when I finally got home.
I was ready to fall down after the last firing and so I left at about 10. There was still some clean up to do and the last person left at about 11:30.
All in all it was an awesome week, but I have to admit that I am not all that keen to repeat the process. I loved building the pots and glazing them, and I really liked seeing what came out of the kiln, but the firing was a bit too physically demanding for my liking.

Next post...... the pots!


Julia said...

It sounds like it's exhausting work. Loading and unloading a ceramic kiln is so much easier as it has to be cool before the kiln is opened. Also heating is done gradually unlike a Raku kiln.

Looking at the red hot interior must be hard on the eyes.
How did your pots turned out?

mira's papa said...

They turned out pretty good. I'm no Raku expert, but everything she brought home seemed to have the typical Jackie touch of class. I've not looked it all over in detail - it was something in the neighbourhood of 40 pieces that she did - but it all looked pretty good to me.

If they had had the maximum enrollment of 10 for that class, they'd have been there firing until breakfast on Saturday. I held off on dinner until 8:00, but the kids were chewing their fingers down, so we had to eat. I was sorry Jackie missed it because we had a really great barbecue.