Here on Reid Road we have two perfectly good electric kilns. Adequate, modern, plug in, turn on, get a snack. We fire the pottery we make to "cone 6" or mid-fire (the most common form of pottery for home use). This was working well, it was nearly fool proof, and I was becoming more and more comfortable with our technique and materials. So then hubby gets an itch, a longing starts to grow... things around here are too modern, too easy, it's like we're livin' in the matrix! Microwave cooking, gas powered vehicles stinkin' up the countryside! We need to put the brakes on! His beefy limbs are beginning to rust just turning dials. He sniffed the air and before we knew it we were scouring the countryside gathering bricks fom Field B.C. to someplace up north??? we hauled the cattle trailer full of bricks, trip after trip. Brick by brick loaded into the trailer and back out into the barn. Luckily last summer we had volunteers (thanks Jeff!), who seemed to find brick lifting a neat way to spend their day!
Now I venture into telling you what this kiln (clay oven) will do. Instead of making pots, loading the kiln, turning the dial and going home to bed, we will: make pots, haul dead wood from around the farm, saw, chop and split wood, pile wood near kiln, load kiln with pots, seperate pots from each other by placing tiny balls of material called wadding on the feet and rims of each pot (because in the wood/salt atmosphere the pots would weld to the shelves/pots nearby), lower enormous, heavy lid onto kiln, start fire, build fire slowly, stoke fire, constantly watch fire, peek into flaming holes to check temperature measuring cones, at appropriate times throw bundles of salt or salt/soda mix into holes in kiln, continue to stoke fire for 12 to 40 hours, stay awake the entire time, trust no one, lather, rinse, repeat, when finished let cool for 5 days to see final results which will always be COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE. The adventure is just beginning!