Oops. I mean to do this more often. If for no other reason than my own memory is short and it's nice to look back.

So we spent February, March and half of April making pots for firing #2. Auvery was trying out a couple of new forms and some heavy slip decorating.

I was trying to throw some big pots using a mix of coil and throw and sectional throwing techniques. I'm starting to figure out what works and what doesn't, for me anyways. 

We set a firing date for the end of April because after that the farm demands a lot more attention with spring seeding. So we made pots and made more pots. Gotta have enough right?

We also had to mix and sieve glazes, mix up some wadding and clean and wash kiln shelves. Ugh. I think I spent 3 days and went through a dozen grinding wheels cleaning off the kiln shelves from firing #1. Not a lot of fun.

We also had to cut a split wood. I recruited some friends to help me split wood the weekend before the firing. So it decided to snow. But we soldiered on.

Our buddy Patrick made this awesome video of our adventures that day. Check it out!

By the next weekend the snow was gone for firing #2. It was 25 hours long this time around. It was a little more difficult this time with the wind blowing and gusting hard for the last half of the firing, bringing a little bit of rain and sleet with it. We also had some issues with back pressure at the firebox around 1800 degrees F. After stressing and futzing around for an hour, Jeffrey and his superphone research saved the day.
Firing #2 wasn't as successful as #1 as there were some cool spots in the kiln, a result from ember and ash build up in the firebox. And using less salt affected the final results. But lessons have been learned and strategies put in place for #3. And there were quite a few beautiful pots in this kiln, more than enough to keep us motivated. Our good friends Jeffrey and Tanjia Heyden-Kaye came out and took pictures of a few of the winners.

Two days after the firing we were off to Calgary to drop off a couple pots that were juried into the Alberta Potters Association show "Off Centre" at Webster Galleries. It is a beautiful two story space and we were quite excited to be a part of the show. The show was being held in conjunction with the APA Off Centre symposium the next weekend. Unfortunately we weren't able to get there because as soon as we got home from dropping of the pots at the gallery, we unloaded the kiln (with mixed emotions), and the next day it was straight to long days in the field. I wasn't able to really digest and look at the results of the firing for a couple of weeks. Like I said earlier, I now have an idea of what we will do differently next time. But for now the pots are cleaned and organized and thoughts for the next round of making are percolating. Its time to fit in some throwing around the busy summer jobs and activities.
Well it looks like winter is just about here. A couple small skiffs of snow and a drop in temperature tell me it's time to get some work done in the studio.
The kiln November 10, 2011
Where did we last leave off? Oh yes, I was working on the kiln. Still. A long process I know but it looks more like a real kiln all the time. The metal frame needed a little welding before being assembled.

The arch was cast, the fire box was started, the stoking door was hung. I was able to reuse the cast arch over the door. I got far enough along that I was able to place the old castable roof on top of the firebox. It came apart in a few pieces, but with a little help I think I can get them to fit a little tighter and probably do a light skim coat of new castable on the top in the spring.
But it's too cold to lay brick now. I'm not a wimp, the mortar freezes up. Really. So it's off to the studio. Just in time because the third annual Wintertide show and sale is coming. We have lots of pots but it is a good excuse to get working on some new stuff. I was a little rusty on the wheel since I hadn't thrown anything for a few months but it's coming back to me. I think.

November 25th and 26th the place to be is the Elks Hall in Ponoka. Come on down and see the show. We should have at least one kiln load of brand new work and our good friend Shelagh Blatz of Design by Shelagh / will be joining us this year so it should be very exciting. Check out her website at http://designsbyshelagh.com 

See you there,
 Yippee, big news, Joe and I entered work into a show this spring...and what do you know we each had a piece accepted! SMILES! The show is a juried travelling exhibiton put together by the Alberta Potters Association. The piece I have in the show (pictured left) is called "Myth and Magic sipping cup"... a groovy little number featuring layered stamping, text, and a graphic carved section with an amphora flowing before a sea of alchemic symbols...you know that old chestnut. Joe's piece is a lidded vessel titled... "lidded jar", the man is inspired, right? Let me expand on that, it is a small, amber colored lidded jar, textured to be subtly reminiscant of the texture repeated in the cultivated fields of the farm. This show will start June 25th to Sept, 15, in Lethbridge, Alberata, at the Sir Alexander Galt Museum, then it will travel to Comox B.C. to the Comox Valley Art Gallery, Oct.1st to 31st, next the pieces land in The B.C. Gallery of Ceramics, Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C. from Nov.1st to Nov.30th. There may be more possible dates for the show in 2012.  Wow, my pottery will do more travelling than I will!