Saturday, January 2, 2010

First blog posting for 2010!

The second firing of the salt kiln happened on Dec. 05. It went pretty similarly to the first firing. We had trouble getting the back to stay even with the front, only it was the opposite side we had trouble with for the first firing. I moved the targe bricks back, but noticed during unloading that I had moved one side back a little further than the other. We also think I may have gradually stacked the shelved closer together as we went up. It was only a cone or so behind, nothing major. I thought I had gotten a lot more reduction (hence darker colors) in my attempts to even out the heat. I moved the damper in and tried to hold the front of the kiln at temp, hoping the back would catch up. While the results were a bit darker, I think most of the dark pieces were actually the result of using a different (darker) clay body.

It will be fun to fire it again and see what happens, altho, after seeing the results Scott has been getting out of the little soda box kiln he cobbled together, I'm thinking about
trying a soda firing next time! Julie's interested in trying that with me, it's always more fun to experiment when you have a comrade!!

Here are a few pics of my results......

...donning my newly purchased Wall insulated overalls - thumbs up!!!

Christmas sales at Bear's Mill were quite unimpressive. I'm not sure if people weren't liking my pots in particular, or not liking the "salt-fired" finish, or if pottery sales in general were down. They were quite brisk a couple years ago but I haven't had much inventory there for the holidays the last 2 years.

The standard 152 Clay came out a little darker than I like. The 182 was a nice color, but the throwing consistency was too "buttery" (like porcelain!)

Here's a small display of my work that I put in the studio. I did manage to sell about $300 worth to some local friends who stopped out before Christmas!! Still need to get the oribe to a thicker consistency!

I'm taking a bit of a hiatus from potting right now (as many potters do) because for one thing, the weather in easter Indiana is not extremely conducive for firing in a kiln located outside. It was in the 20s with a brisk breeze during my last firing and thankfully my "carharts' kept me warm enough. But right now the outside temp is 6 degress (F) and I can't really imagining firing that kiln right now!!!

Anyways, we decided to start a couple home remodeling projects that we've (I've) been thinking about trying to get done before one (or both) of us has to get a "real" job!! It always seems like when you have time for these projects you don't have the money and when you have the money, you don't have the time!!! I finally convinced Steve we should take advantage of having the time (and enough money to tackle a re-do on the laundry room.)

They say it has to get worse before it gets definitely got worse!! WHAT A MESS!!!!
It has proven to be only mildly stressful. The worse part was when, after we were about half-way done with demolition of the plaster and lathe, Steve happened to mention the possibility of asbestos in the plaster. YIKES!! I hadn't even considered that! I assumed that since the house was built pre-1900, asbestos wasn't even in exitance, was it?? I checked online that night and found an article from a man who was tearing into a home built in the 30s or 40s that he claimed tested positive for asbestos in the drywalll. Now I felt like I was going to be ill!! I couldn't figure out why Steve wouldn't have said something BEFORE we tore into it. He claims he figured I would just accuse him of trying ot get out of the question.....SO????? You'd rather jeopardize our health and well-being???

It made for a tense work day on the second day of renovation. I did some more online research and couldn't find anything on the EPA's website section on asbestos that mentioned plaster and lathe as a possible contaminated area. Also, I read some old home discussions about horse hair plaster. We did notice what looked to me like horse hairs in the plaster. Steve thought it might be some kind of "fiber." I think, again, the house is too old for it to be anything but horse hair. And the articles I read mentioned the fact that that the old plaster and lathe was extremely durable and even somewhat fireproof. (And I had bee extremely worried when I started a burnpile with the lathe and a couple pieces of plaster ended up in the burn pile but didn't seem to actually be doing much burning. I can't even begin ot explain the sick feeling I had about all this.

But it seemed like it was too late to do anything about it at this point. I do know that before we tear into any more plaster in this house, I will make sure we have it tested. I feel rather confident that it won't test positive for asbestos, but I would rather know before placing myself in a roomful of questionable
dust particles!!

But now the messiest part is behind us, we just need to get the debris taken to the dump. Today's attempt fell short, apparently they took an extra day off for the New Year's holiday.

At lunch time we had volunteered to help residents at one of the local retirement centers with their lunch trays. Apparently they run short of help on week-ends. It was enjoyable talking to some of the residents there. Some of them really seem to enjoy life!! The only bad part was that it brought back some unpleasant memories from my days of waiting table at Perkins and Bob Evans (and I didn't even get any tip$!!!)

So that pretty much sums up life since my last blog post.


1 comment:

Katie said...

Hi there- How are you? I contacted you on facebook. Check out my blog too we can be blogging buddies. Looks like life is good for you and Steve. A grandbaby too, life is good.