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last week Steve, my kiln mentor, came to help rebuild the arch of my kiln roof. it was a bit tricky, as my former was pretty wonky, and he had to play around with the shape somewhat, in the end taking the hardboard off the frame-work and inserting it under the very higgledy-piggledy bricks supported by a piece of wood just under the centre. this seemed to work, and after maybe half-an-hour  of tapping bricks into slightly better positions we ended up with something quite a lot better than it had been, but by no means perfect. I think my arch was not too good in the first place. but also I realise that I probably destabilised it by pushing the front edge bricks around when I bricked up , clammed, and unbricked up the kiln before, after, and during firings. I will be a lot more careful from now on.

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after a couple of little extras that Steve put in, pegs to hold the sides of the flue together, and my filling gaps in it with ceramic insulation fibre, I think the flue will be more stable too. I managed to break my thermocouple while filling the gaps though, and had to wait to finish the insulation until a new one arrived. it is shorter, which will give me much more room to maneouver pots around in the top of the kiln.

this week has been cold and windy, but everything is so beautifully green. the barley has its whiskers already.

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the fig trees have new leaves and fruit and I think they may arrive on a cardigan or two next spring. I am trying to work out next season’s themes, while I make pots for Salthouse.

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today I found a very pretty and unusual plate with a strange creature in the centre – maybe a lion copied from a Chinese piece. this is a plate by Coalport in Shropshire, circa 1825, hand painted and rather worn.

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also a lovely cup and saucer, Victorian, and hand gilded. these little flowers might end up in the collection too.

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