April woodfiring

When you see a pot for sale on a stall or shop, you would never guess at the amount of work that went into it.

Tina's house

Tina’s house

I turned up at my mate Tina’s house on Wednesday the 15th to help with firing her kiln and to put my pots in too. Three days later the kiln was packed, stacked and clammed ready to go on Saturday morning, I get bored with glazing, so this for me was very trying.

wadding balls are ringing for me and my pot

wadding balls are ringing for me and my pot

Glazing fatigue

Glazing fatigue

 

our bits of the Kiln packed waiting for Pete

our bits of the Kiln packed waiting for Pete

 

Tina’s husband Graham and I made a contract to be at the kiln with paper ,sticks and matches at 5 am, it was still dark and the Nightingale that he had heard singing in the dark was being drowned out by a very busy dawn chorus. Over the three days I had spotted quite a number of migrants,warblers and two swallows.

Light the blue touch paper and retire back to bed ( not )

Light the blue touch paper and retire back to bed ( not )

first smoke

first smoke

roar

roar

We lit one firebox and with smoke,flames and heat the kiln was off and burning. We started gently with large short logs slowly giving of background heat. We used large logs until the other firebox was lit, then we used the long timber from pallets that I had dismantled. All that effort unpicking them paid off and better than going to landfill.

The day started to warm up and soon it all became very pleasant in the sun, without too much effort the temperature began to climb as Tina orchestrated the stoking symphony it rose to a crescendo at about 10.30.

nearly there

nearly there

We finished on a reduction with loads of thin plum tree prunings stuffed into the fire boxes, big crackle and pop. Then the panic of clamming up quickly to conserve the heat and slow the cool.

I can’t remember going to sleep, after an eighteen hour day I zonked out.

Scroll forward to the following Saturday, after an agonising wait mainly because we all had to be there for the grand opening to say oooo ahh and ruddy hell. It was worth the wait and on the whole we were all very pleased, no major breakages or mistakes .We spent much time thanking the kiln gods and even

more time taking stock and making notes about where, what why and next time.

one wicket down

one wicket down

we tried to count them and gave up

we tried to count them and gave up

 

scene of the crime shot,with all the suspects

scene of the crime shot,with all the suspects

post match analysis

post match analysis

The next time for the kiln will be in September.

 

 

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About timbartell

I was born in a flat in Lambeth the name of which was, Wedgewood house,China walk estate.I'd forgotten this until recently,it dawned on me the significance of the names after I had become interested in pottery/ceramics.I think of myself as a potter in the most practical sense,making pots for people to use.I have never had any formal training,I took it up when the table tennis class was full.My first flat was in the same road as a pottery centre, Elmwood pottery, the best in London, 18 sessions a week and a real community. I love my craft and bore everyone with it, so am grabbing this chance to bore more people via this blog.There may be the odd interesting item, here's hoping.
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