Saturday, December 28, 2013

Snow Kiln

Snow, snow and more snow. In fact it is still snowing as I write. The past few days I have been spending about an hour each day pulling snow off roofs. Then shoveling it away. Another few inches and it will be waist deep on me. This is about twice what we usually get in a Winter. This is supposed to be the rain-shadow of the Coast Range. Now my poor kiln is also covered in the stuff. Only good part is that the water content is pretty low. Plus the fact that it would be -46 C like it is a bit to the North of us and beyond this storm track.
I was asked about the measurements of this kiln. Inside the chamber is 64 inches by 28 wide and 24 ish high. 9 courses high on the inside. Because it is made of used (very used) hardbrick there is mortar between the courses and that adds to the height. It is 9 inches thick. The Bourry Box has hobs. On top I use kiln shelves, a layer of soft brick then several layers of fiber blanket. The plans for this kiln were in Laid Back Wood-firing by Steve Harrison. I would recommend both the book and the kiln to anyone wanting to build a simple yet easy to fire kiln.Steve is very accessible and helpful. I have seen pots he fired for 16 hours in one of these kilns that are ringers for 4 day anagama fired work. Tons of ash and great flashing. I fire both 'naked' and glazed work and it works well for both.
It was so cold after my last firing that I neglected the usual clean up, thought it could wait until the Spring. As my studio is closed up until March it won't be until at least May before we fire again.
In the planning process for building two new kilns. One will be a gas conversion of an ancient Duncan electric and the other a 14.5 cu. ft.Flat Top. One will be updraft and the other crossdraft fired with propane. Too many days with the fire hazard up in the high and extreme range for wood firing so this will give me some options. Also will be able to do more frequent testing.
Meanwhile it is back to tend the wood stove and watch the snow come down.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

-40 Today, Time for Summer Memories

 A bit fuzzy, but the cranberries were huge this year. Best crop I have seen in over 40 years of picking them.
 More than 40 lbs. in this photo. Altogether we picked over 130 lbs. of different kinds of berries. All now frozen, canned or dried.these are Lingonberries, also know as low bush Cranberries, our favorite.
 On the Takhini River, east of Whitehorse and a little South, near Kusawa Lake. Camped, fished and picked berries. Quiet and beautiful.
 Some of my 'Stargazer" Oriental lilies. The blooms are huge, fragrant and just plain beautiful!
 We have gone soft in our old age. Pretty much had it with sleeping in a tent on the ground. Got our "Hawk" 4 Wheel Camper in June. Spent lots of time in it. Very minimal but all that we need.Much higher level of comfort than we're used to. We lived in it for over three weeks in the Fall on our trip to Alberta and B.C. Loved every minute! You do need to be organized in such a small place, but really, a furnace? Wonderful!!
Last but best. New change rooms and deck at Liard Hot Springs. Went down there a couple of times for multiple days. Never gets old!!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Sales

 Cleaning shelves, got to be the worst job in pottery. This time it was angle grinder all the way.
 Kiln was in super-reduce mode, not good! Lots of refires in the back due to not enough air in the front. Did two back to back firings in the most horrible weather.
 And this is why. When I 'fixed' the top I made the air holes smaller than they were before. They were much bigger because the metal was warped and had opened up really big.....maybe that was why I got to temp hours faster than ever before??? Duh, and the fix was a f.....up.Off to my welder friend to open them up. Wish I still had all the wood I wasted. Oh well, live and learn!
 Don't have very much of this stuff left. I had left some home for the following sales and it's all gone too. Had lots of orders plus the sales. Really happy about it all. This was the first, over 4,000 people came. Considering the entire Yukon population is 33,000 I'd say that was good attendance!
Scarves, pots and dog fur hats. Ready for a rest. My next project is either buying or building a small propane fired kiln. I have 150 soft brick. Getting the bricks is the hard part. Sure I could make something that would work. Anyhow, now is the time to think and plan, building would be in the Spring. Tonight is supposed to get to -25 and colder the next few days. Last day of school is the 20 th.Time for a holiday!!