Thursday, December 15, 2011

the last firing of 2011

Last night Jeff and I bricked up the door of the baby gas kiln so that we would be ready to go this morning. I woke up at 6:00 am without even having to set the alarm! I crept down the spiral staircase in the dark and slipped out the back door in my jammies to light the burners. I fed Sophie then crawled back into bed and dozed for a short time. At 8:00 I nudged the burners a bit. All the while, Jeff is snuggled in bed, fast asleep. This routine is so much easier than when I was in NH and I would have to get in the car and drive 4 miles (in my jammies) to light the burners... never mind the fact that this time of year it was really, really cold out! The positive side of that situation was that after the second set of burners were lit on the big NH kiln (4 burners) I had to stay the day to tend to it. That meant there were no distractions (like laundry) and I could make more pots or do some cleaning up. I had no choice but be more active in firing the kiln. Jeff would check on me and give advice. He was usually there when the kiln went into reduction. Jeff was teaching at NHIA back then so I always wanted to be done before he was off to teach. I have been a slacker with this kiln, letting Jeff handle the work of firing. I do most of the loading, which for some reason I really enjoy. My New Year's resolution will be to master firing this little kiln!

I wasn't sure if I had ever shared a picture of our very high tech door bracing system... towards the end of the firing it it hard to keep this door tight, so Jeff came up with this solution. Sort of reminds me of my brother's erector set when we were growing up!

and now for a little advertising...

We are having a very laid back Holiday Opening on Saturday & Sunday. The kiln will be unloaded in the morning and there will be hot coffee in the gallery for morning customers. On Saturday, 3 -6 pm we will be serving wine and cheese. If we are feeling ambitious we may do a raku firing on Friday and that means some new tiles and pendants for the weekend. There are lots of other kiln openings in Seagrove and it will be a perfect way to finish your holiday shopping without the stress of the malls.
Here is a list of potteries that I know are having openings (and there may be more!):

Dean and Martin
Bulldog Pottery
Ben Owen III
Donna Craven
David Stuempfle
Johnston & Gentithes
Chris Luther
Seagrove Stoneware


  1. Hope all goes well, I'd be tripping over that door system and screw the whole thing up; wish I was closer.

  2. Hey, I love the snakes from the post before, what a great idea. I still have some doubts about the raku "entertainment" thing of picking up the work from the kiln and it in a container to reduce. I think it wiser for "difficult" items to simply build a kiln over them and seal it up at the end of the firing with lots of combustible material in it..., but I've only played with wood fired raku rather than gas fired..., and only played!

    Interested to see gas firings in action (as I need to get a gas kiln up and running here). Do any of you use burners made by Ward Burner Systems? I've come across them on the Net, and they look really good.

    Do most potters use all the elaborate looking flame failure systems that can cost way more than the burners themselves? Or would most people simply monitor the kiln carefully in the early part of the firing, and take sensible care?

  3. ooops, I meant to say "picking up the work from the kiln and putting it in a container to reduce"... "putting" vanished somewhere! P.

  4. Hi Peter -
    These burners came from Ward. In my experience Ward Burner has good customer service.
    Originally there was no failure shut off system for these burners. We were in NH and never left the kiln unattended...still not a good idea to not have shut offs.
    We had a leak near our propane tank and when we called the gas company to check it out they saw our our burners with no failure system and shut it down. Until we installed thermocouples we couldn't fire.
    Ward Burner advised on the least expensive method... Purchasing Baso Valves and thermocouples with no pilot and installed them ourselves. The gas company was happy and we could fire again. I also have better peace of mind!

  5. Linda - I have tripped over it a couple of times... we might be in trouble if we were both here, ha ha ha!

  6. Thanks so much for that information, really helpful for me here. I may well follow up on some burners from Ward with the Baso valves and thermocouples. With that information I may be able to know more what to ask when I talk to my gas company here. Just hope that there are not too many bureaucratic hoops to go through though, as so few potters and gas kilns in my part of the world that many gas fitters just don't have any experience with them, and the regulations seem to be open to really silly interpretation in some areas. Again, big thank yous, and good luck with the firing too!

  7. Toes crossed for a wonderful weekend.


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