1pack

packing this kiln took us four days. perhaps the very back part was the slowest, as it had to be packed tightly to stop the heat escaping too quickly.

2pack

we were fortified by Sabine’s marvellous meals

6pack

every prop, shelf and pot had to be separated by wads of clay and alumina, Tim is seen licking these to make them stick to the pots in the top photo.

12pack

some were made into sandwiches with scallop shells – the lime in the shell stopes them sticking – for pots to rest on sideways.

5pack

like this one of mine, which is lying right under a stoke hole. if it doesn’t break, it will end up with an amazing coating of ash on its upper side.

7pack

finding pots the same size to fit under the shelves was a headache. normally a potter makes sizes to fit the props and shelves, but we all brought pots of completely different sizes and shapes. there’s a listening pod of mine in the top right, and on the left covered in black iron oxide, is one of my really huge bottles, next to a bottle of Chris’s, then another tall bottle of mine, in red clay with shino poured on it, which I am hoping has come out black and the glaze a metallic sheen.

8pack

Pete and Chris did the last part of the packing, the very large cylinder is Pete’s.

9pack

another layer, not quite the last

14pack

this lot will get the brunt of the ember bed

13pack

and the other side

16pack

on the afternoon of the fourth day the wicket was bricked up, leaving two stoke holes, some mouse holes for air, and a big spy hole, and small fires were lit outside the stoke holes to lead the heat into the kiln gradually.

18pack

Chris, Pete, Tim, and Carin unloading wood. this is pine, the small section and barked trimmings from the saw mill. almost impossible to get hold of these days, most saw mills make their waste into wood pellets for biomass energy.

graveyard

overnight the fires were moved into the stokeholes. Tim and I had the “graveyard shift” two am to six am. the temperature went down to three degrees centigrade and we were very cold. at this point very little heat was given out by the kiln.

19pack

the next morning the next shift were feeding the long wood into the front stoke holes to build up the ember bed in the firebox. caution had to be taken, flinging it in violently would break those pots at the front, or at least push them over. as the ember bed built up, stoking became a very hot job which had to be done quickly but with great care.

20pack

smoke at the chimney

26pack

another night shift, more comfortable this time as the heat built up …

21pack

Tilda the kiln dog, attached during my shift to make sure she didn’t wander off into the alpaca paddock .. at least she was warmer than in the tent.

22pack

looking to see if cone nine had gone over in the front (that’s 1230C or so)

23pack

stoking at the side doors as well as the front

24pack

things beginning to get exciting now, on the third day.

27pack

Nic checking cones at the back, using the light reflected by an iron bar in the heat

28pack

on the fourth day, using up that ember bed as rocket fuel, the mouse holes opened to let oxygen in.

31pack

Nic side-stoking. the beams above have to be sprayed with a hose to stop them catching alight.

32pack

now the temperature is up Nic throws hardwood ash into the front. pine ash gives khaki greens; hard wood ash is prettier.

29pack

flame at the chimney

chirs stoking

Chris side stoking – you need to be tall …

brekkie

a special breakfast, just what you need after nights stoking … Sabine’s birthday too …

33pack

at last, the cones have gone over in the back, it’s time to clam up, cooling in reduction.

34pack

all done, now for the party!

apotsinaline

just a taste – the kiln was opened today, but I couldn’t be there …