Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting Loaded

I haven't been sleeping! I've been getting loaded! It took me an entire day jsut to wad the pots. This is one thirsty beast. It has eaten up hundreds of pots. I have a lot of tests going in so it is a bit of a dice throw.
Firing next week so I have one thing on my mind.
Be well out there!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Georgia Good Ole Boyzzzzzzzz

Our workshop with Ronnie the Rat Meyers is coming up on us quickly. It has been  a pleasure to have watched Ronnie over the years making better and even better work. I hope at age 78 my work shows as much love of process as his. Ronnie is one of those that needs to make pots. He needs to for his very soul. It is not for the money but for the love of his work. He is an inspiration to me. I have suggested we

will fire the pigs, the rats, the goats, the cats, the whole damn menagerie in our wood kiln this summer. My ole aunt and uncle would be tickled to death to see the whole barnyard coming out of the dream that was once theirs. We still have space in the workshop so snooze ya loose.
This is a pic of me, Ronnie and Ted Saupe at the U of Georgia.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Medal of Honour

I started teaching as an Adjunct at Sheridan College School of Craft and Design I think around 2000. Mary Philpott graduated from Sheridan in 1998 and has been in the clay trenches ever since. Sheila and I are such HUGE fans of Mary's work and anyone that can survive this bizz over a decade and a half deserves the Medal of Honour.
We are very pleased to be presenting a hands on workshop with Mary at Pinecroft Centre for the Arts in September. It is such a pleasure for us to be presenting people that make such fine work.
... to see more of Mary's work register and for more info

Friday, May 24, 2013

Big Glaze Job

We're getting ready for take off in the new woodie. Kiln shelves and posts are all kiln washed. The interior of the kiln has been glazed with a wash of 65 Custer, 25 Kaolin, 10 Whiting. This has been suggested over the years as a way of getting a good firing right from the get go. The porous bricks suck up a lot of the alkaline vapour that you want on your pots. Donovan maintains it prolongs the life of a hard brick kiln substantially. Should be a sexy interior with a clear over a firebrick yellow brick. Notice the floor and bag wall weren't glazed. Kiln posts have to be put on the floor and the bag wall will need altering depending on results of the firing. The door frame was painted with regular kiln wash as bricks would stick to the glaze.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2 door hardtop

My Dad's 55 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was a turquoise and white two door hardtop. The big woodie also has two doors and 9 inch thick hard brick arch covered with 3 inches of fiber and a hardtop made of  insulating castable and Portland cement. We covered the firebox arch too. Donovan thinks this will be a slow cooler with all the mass and the insulation. Kilns are so poorly insulated these days people have resorted to firing down to get good glaze results.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Oldsmobile Rocket 88

The handmade Caddy is complete, idling and waiting to pull out of Dodge. All the builders are pooped. Nicely done Donovan Palmquist and assistant extraordinaire Judah. You are both among the finest detail craftsmen in the bizz. I learned as much about care of making as I did about kiln building. It was a mini graduate degree compressed into almost 3 intensive weeks.
When I was a kid my dad bought a 55 Oldsmobile Rocket  88. He couldn't wait to hit the prairies so he could bury the speedometer and be able to see the cops for miles. Looking at this machine I feel like Dad felt.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Chamber

The chamber is done and now for the flu channels and the bag wall. We spaced the bag wall up to 2" spacing after it cleared the throat arch. The idea is to drive the flame up to the top of the kiln but still get some of those pots at the bottom kissed by the flame.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Big Arch

goes up today. All bricks laid dry so that mortar doesn't fall on the pots during firing. It will be exciting to drop the arch form. I'm sure no matter how many times Donovan has done it there must be a sigh of relief.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Go big or go home!

Yesterday the door arch was put in place. Today we put the arch on the chamber and the arch over the bourry box. The kiln goes from looking huge to looking big to looking smaller and then bigger again. Once the arch is over the chamber I'm wondering how big 100 cubic feet looks. The car kiln has been started simultaneously with the woodie. As if it is not a big enough project.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

15 foot erection

The 15 foot erection of the stack required the use of Uncle Herm's man toy to lift bricks to the roof. I can't imagine carrying them up the ladder. There are well over a thousand hard bricks in the stack. There should be enough draw to suck up a small dog or unsupervised child.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Steppin' UP


There are a lot of details in this kiln. Looks like over 10 arches in total. Here are the arched hobs.
When I first saw pics of them in one of Donovan's other kilns I thought it over kill. They are 4 1/2" not 9" bricks. The stepping up of the bricks in the chimney is creating a rather large collection box to cool down the exiting flame.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Deep Throat.

The throat arches have been sprung. If I choke those babies with coals from the firebox I've got some seriously bad wood.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Roman Empire

This kiln must be the beginning of the Roman Empire. We have two small arches laid and 8 more to go.  2 Arches over the fire starter,  3 arches for the grates, arch over stoke door, arch over firebox, two arches for the throat and of course the arch over the pot chamber.  10 arches in total. Perhap this kiln ought to be named Archie.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I haven't been missing in action. I've been lugging bricks for the wood kiln. Here is a picture of the foot print of the kiln. Geez, it looks huge. Pretty well takes up the entire building. When you look at the foot print of a wood kiln you can see the engine or firebox is rather substantial. Combine that with a large chimney and the pot department is rather small. When you consider there will be 30,000 pounds of refractories to fire a few hundred pounds of pots it puts it all into perspective. I thought in this blog I will highlight some of the details being considered. Notice the checkered hardbrick/softbrick  base for the chimney. Donovan feels that an entire layer of softies run the risk of being crushed over time by the weight of the chimney.