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wood kilns/tony

updated sat 25 sep 04


mel jacobson on fri 24 sep 04

yes, yes. we must keep all firing options open
and available for those new folks to learn from.

that is why we built our small `train` at the farm.
so others can have that experience.

when we fire that kiln we appoint a leader.
the leader makes all the critical choices. the helpers
are there to learn and help. the leader teaches, makes
loading decisions, makes sure the wood is in place for loading,
and checks weather conditions and gets a schedule of loading.
if you do not keep up, or want to move out on your the
team. anyone with experience can be the leader. at some
point a worker will get pissed and challenge the leader.
they work it out. no one gets hurt. but, in the end, it is never
a party. no drinking until the kiln is fired. sane, level headed
folks fire that kiln. there are always a dozen folks to help.
( i don't fire wood kilns anymore, i sit in a pink lawn chair and
watch the gas do its work.)

same for salt. we have rules. over salting just ruins the kiln.
even with itc, if you just pour pounds of salt in there, well it does
not make for good pots, it just ruins a great kiln.

i have said often here on clayart that learning many ways of
doing things is critical over a life time of potting. the only way
you will ever understand how the chinese got those great pots
is to stand over a wood fired kiln for 30 hours. or, maybe 80 hours.

clay does not come from laguna, or continental clay in plastic
bags. it comes from the earth. glaze materials come from the earth.
mrs. mugamba still fires her pots with dry grass, with clay that comes
from near a stream. they have been doing that for thousands of years.
same way.

if anyone ever gets a chance to `be in on`... a wood firing....take it.
have that experience. it will enhance your life as a potter.

i hate party kilns, party firing, arrogant dorks using a good kiln
to have an `experience`. kilns are serious tools. in fact one of the
most important tools ever made by mankind. and, that is a fact.
that is why my kilns are for me only. they do serious work. i do
love my kilns. take good care of them. as it should be.
kurt and i have spent a great deal of money and time to make
some good kilns, that work, and are for others to learn from.
(hay creek) we have shared plans, and have had the tiny
flat top put into cad plans/like judith that all can have
them. (to be published this coming year in PMI)

those that want wood fired kilns, in areas that are heavily populated
and for the wrong reasons are killing our profession. the reputation
of potters has to be protected. it is hard to be a person that wants
to save water, worry about global warming, save the whales...all
the rhetoric...then build a wood fired kiln in a busy place...and try
and defend it. stupidity. or, send clouds of salt fumes through a
campus during the day...and say. `hey, it won't hurt anyone. i have
an article here`.... they won't believe you.
and, we all get wacked.

gotta make pots.
going to fire the kilns at the farm next weekend...need
`not chinese` pots to fire.
Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
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