[Clayart] wood firing/long story
gerholdclay at gmail.com
Fri Jul 1 15:06:51 EDT 2016
But Mel, if lack of pain is your criteria for judging pottery techniques we would all be doing molded electric fired pots.
Sent from my iPad
> On Jul 1, 2016, at 12:03 PM, mel jacobson via Clayart <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com> wrote:
> i sent a note to clayart about wood firing and of course
> mine did not show up. who knows?
> i will try again.
> wood firing/dictionary translation: hard work, dirty, expensive,
> frustrating, fighting, arguments.
> i have been around wood kilns for many years.
> my take is: stay away. watch a gas kiln fire from
> the seat of my pink lawn chair. chat with friends, watch
> the kiln fire, have a cold drink. chat `happily` with
> friends, pet my dog. open a great kiln full of happy pots.
> david hendley is the only potter i know that happily fires
> with wood. no rancor...but, i think i will call karen
> and see if this story is true. (she is a fine woman, with
> great intengrity and she will tell me the truth.)
> it takes a great deal of planning to pull off firing with wood.
> fuel is the prime issue with all kilns and you need good,
> well stacked, well dried and abundant wood if you intend
> to fire with it. and, you need a constant supply. not just
> enough for a half a firing.
> that means...a truck, chain saw, wood splitter, gloves
> chaps, axe, and much in the way of patience.
> add that up...about 20 grand. low estimate.
> whenever we have fired the hay creek fabulous donovan
> palmquist wood kiln we have fights. do this, do that, too fast,
> too slow, should we stop, or keep going. who the hell is
> in charge?????? and these are best friends firing the kiln.
> in most cases you need a crew of at least 6. the leader
> should have a whip and at least a smith and wesson model 10.
> the leader has to make all the decisions, the worker bees do
> what they are told. you plan ahead...keep to the plan.
> but, in most cases you have one worker bee that knows better.
> `come on, let's kick this kiln in the ass, load her up.` kiln
> stalls. you lose five hours of firing to get it back on track.
> the other issue. the worker bees show up in heels and hose.
> polyester clothes that will explode if near a kiln.
> no gloves. what, i have to do what??? i have to get up at
> 3 a.m.? are you crazy?
> or, `i would love to help, but my dog is sick, take these 30 pots
> and load them, i have a show coming up...i need a good spot
> in the kiln`. sure.
> or, two of the worker bees drink too much, get loaded and
> fall into the wood pile and pass out. no booze at a wood firing.
> ever. but, i have seen more drunks firing a wood kiln than sober
> remember, wood firing potters lie to themselves. `i love this.
> man, i am not tired at all after 42 hours of firing`. `i cannot
> wait to spend another 30 hours cutting and stacking wood.`
> so, it rains for three days while i fire, it is fine.`
> remember, weather is about 60 percent of firing a wood kiln
> to the end. you can never tell what the weather will do.
> of course then there is the aesthetic. snot and buggers all
> over the pots. pots all turn brown. potters make pots
> with `wood fire form`...they all look alike. one out of fifty
> has that racer quality. the rest go in the dumpster.
> i realize that the screams of pain will now start. `mel, you
> don't know crap about aesthtics of wood, and you are mean.`
> `how can you say such things?`
> well, i have been around the block, seen it, done it, watched
> it and i have listened for years to folks that say...`man, next
> time i will really fire this kiln better.` i want this time.
> i want every time. not 1 out of 5.
> and, the hardest part of the wood kiln experience is that
> the kilns are far too big. the potter is always chasing the
> kiln. `i need 200 more pots to fill the kiln.` `i need more
> help, and the family is not going to do it again.`
> and nothing makes me sadder than an aging wood firing
> potter. arms are tired, legs hurt, and one more load of wood
> has to be cut, split and stacked, covered and allowed at least
> a year to dry. `i think i will just pay that guy $300 for a full cord
> all cut and stacked.` and, where do you find that guy that
> will do it for $300?.
> i write this post for those that think it is easy.
> the ones that have committed to it, they will stay
> commited, and will think i am terrible for saying what i say.
> but, one has to go into the wood experience with wide open
> eyes. it is not a picnic.
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