Sunday, June 27, 2010

Four Bears!!/Kiln Firing

On our Friday trip to Skagway we were lucky enough to see this sow black bear and THREE cubs! We watched them playing on the road for quite a while before they went off into the bush. The mother seemed to be having a bit of a time getting them all in line! Ken said that we will probably see them again soon. Yep, while we are back up here picking blueberries!
Some nice photos of the last firing of the wood kiln. The fire hazard had gone to moderate from extreme so took the chance to fire her up. The firing starts at around 9 pm at night and goes until midnight. I fill up the firebox and shut all the dampers and go for a 'nap'. Alarm rings at 3:30 am and all hell breaks loose. This kiln gallops off like a racehorse. Then it is stoke away every 10 to 15 minutes until 8 pm. Side stoking commences after noon. All the black smoke is from that.
This firing got a little bit hotter than planned.....I was reading the cones from the middle, which turned out to be the coolest place, something that has never happened before. Cone 11 was melted in the front and the back. Usually the back is the coolest place with cone 9. Not this time!! I got to spend some quality time cleaning shelves, my least favorite task.
Only lost five pieces to my over enthusiastic side stoking. A chalice got knocked over into a teapot, which fell into a pitcher, which fell into the top of a butter dish. I zapped this four piece sculpture with my angle grinder and saved the teapot for myself. It has a bit of a scar, but is beautiful and serviceable. The rest of the pieces are mosaic material. Also a bowl got knocked into a brick. It now lives in the garden.
By the way, the flame throwing technique really works. Too good! Towards the afternoon the wind came up and starting blowing the flames around a little more than I was comfortable with. Then it really started howling. That was the signal to call it a day. It was still pretty dry out and I didn't want to be the cause of a bush fire.
Good news, almost all the pieces have been sold! Time to get ready for the next firing.