Sunday, August 9, 2009

Four more courses

We are making some head-way on the kiln. Today we laid 4 more rows of bricks. It's amazing the little things that go wrong or you forget to do, that can turn into big things. I'm so thankful to have some experienced help, or I can't imagine how things might turn out!! My help doesn't consider himself to be very knowledgeable or experienced, but he's much too hard on himself (and I know he's one of 2 people on the planet who reads my blog, so I thought I would take this opportunity to tell him that!!)

Also, since he reads my blog, he took my last somewhat whiny post seriously and encouraged/forced (?) me to become more involved in the process. Beeeeeg mistake!! I'm not known for my accuracy. So, the corner that I laid the brick on somehow got itself "out of plumb." Luckily Scott and Steve were able to fix my faux pas without having to remove al the bricks and re-lay the whole corner and side!! That was a relief 'cos we already re-did a row where we had miscalculated something, I can't remember what now!
Building a kiln sure requires lots of calculating (and re-calculating!!)

Since neither Steve or I have every built a kiln and Scott only builds one every few years, it's hard to remember all the little things that are actually pretty important. We almost forgot to put the burner ports in. (yeah, those are pretty important!) But we did remember!! We have a few soft bricks in spots that should probably have hard bricks. They'll just need to be replaced sooner. We remembered the salt ports, but after we got them in, Scott realized that my burners will block be blocking them. Steve thinks he can take the "elbow" out of the burners or modify them so they won't directly block the salt po
rts. Now we have to be sure to remember to put the spy holes in next week when we lay the next course.

Scott is extremely dissatisfied with the brick joints. He feels that too many of them are lining up, they're not staggered like they should be. The boys told me I don't understand. Apparently, as a woman, I don't take pride in my work, at least not as much as they do. (Ahem!!) I told them I think I'm more concerned with functionality than perfection. I don't think perfection is possible! And even if it were, well, it's somewhat fleeting. Bricks will shift, crumble, etc. etc. I know, it's better to start out with it square and plumb, but I don't know if it's worth loosing a lot of sleep over. So, ok, I'l let them think it's a guy thing......or a perfectionist thing......or a perfectionistic guy thing. But I started looking more closely at pictures of kilns in Fred Olsen's book, The Kiln Book, and I noticed that most of the kilns that are pictured in it look as though they were built by human beings. It's probably the same as the reason why I like hand-made pottery in the first place. It's not perfect, it's not machined, it doesn't look mass produced. Same with my kiln! I know that some parts of it have to be as accurate as possible, but as long as it does the job for me, it doesn't have to be 100% perfect!!

I was sitting on the deck drinkin' a beer thinking about how lucky or blessed I am to have reached this point in my life! I'm doing something I've always wanted to do, I'm living on the farm I always dreamed about, and then I have the audacity to make my last post whiny and bitchy when I should be extremely thankful for what I have and what I'm able to do right now!! Reality check!!

Even if I get to the end of this project and it turns out that I'm not good enough at
pottery to make a go of it, at least I've given it my best shot. I'm learning a lot in the process, and not just about kilns, but about myself, my abilities, my limitations, and my attitude (which occassionally needs adjusting!)

happy, muddy gal!

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try."
Beverly Sills

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