Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ready ... more or less ... for summer

The sun is shining today, temperatures are in the low 70s. Summer will be here on Cape Cod soon. For this potter, the first sign of summer is the Arts Alive art festival on the library green here in our home town of Falmouth. This year's show is this weekend. Today's weather would be perfect for the weekend. We'll see ...
Right now I'm firing a kiln of pots - about 25 mugs that I need for inventory, some experimental moribana bowls for a local woman who is an ikebana enthusiast, an order of chowder bowls and lunch plates and a serving platter for a wedding gift, and vases and teabowls and on and on and on.
I started the kiln this afternoon about 1:30 and was working in the studio when I heard a distressing POP! in the kiln. Let's see, says I, cone pack? Indeed. The kiln was at about 500 degrees, so I opened the door and saw bits and pieces of the top shelf low-temp conepack scattered everywhere. Shut down the gas, take out the pots and the top shelf, dump shards out of pots on about three shelves, hope for the best elsewhere, make new cone packs, dry them in the stove, place them, get the whole thing going again. It's 6:50 p.m., we're up near 1900 F right now, after re-starting everything at about 3 p.m. Cone 10 should fall some time around the start of the Bruins-Canucks game tonight. I've become a hockey fan. Who would have guessed?
The other photos on this post are from another project for the upcoming summer. I'm changing the way I display my pots in my EZ-up. I'm going away from table cloths and wooden boxes to a slightly more industrial look, with two stepladders on either side of the tent entrance, holding up three eight-foot boards of pots. My friend Jim Akens - potter Annie Halpin's husband - suggested using spruce staging planks to avoid mid-plank bend. (Jim and Annie hosted Angela Walford and Dan Finnegan at this spring's UK Slipware Potters workshop.) So I've spent the past couple of days with Jim in his remarkably equipped wood and metal shop, planing down the big spruce boards. They're heavy, but they should lighten up as they dry. In the meantime, I think they'll look pretty good. And they look much cooler with the planing that Jim and I did with both his dangerous power tools and his lovely English block plane.
I'll post something next week on how the setup looks at Arts Alive.
All for now.
Photos: Top, this kilnload, with the ill-fated cone packs at top; Jim Akens at the joiner; Jim directing his resident gardener.


Dennis Allen said...

The littlest things jump up to make us humble don't they? Look forward to the booth photos.Have a good show.

ang walford said...

thats some large planks Hollis!!!! hey to jim and annie and have a great wkd hope the weather's fine :))

cookingwithgas said...

dam* Clay! Ihope you get great resluts!
And yes can't wait to see set up.
I'll be in touch with plans soon.

MVBLH said...

OOh, when you said "POP" I just knew it was the mug for Cullen. (Is that the lid, next to it, bottom shelf?) Once he has that bad boy filled with hot chocolate, he'll know it was worth it graduating HS. THANKS Hollis.

Dan Finnegan said...

...longer, slower firings are where it's at, Hollis...better glaze/clay interface, blah, blah blah...and no such thing as cone pad explosion. Hoping it's a good firing...I've watched every Bruins game...3-0 and I'm off to bed!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Hi Hollis- good thing you were near the kiln to intervene and save the pots! Funny you mention your display. I have an event this weekend too and was thinking how I am bored with my set up. I'll stick with it for the weekend, but I will start thinking about a different set up too. Best of luck at your show and for a great firing!

doug Fitch said...

Great to see Jim and Anne, I really liked meeting them a lot :) Great pots too :-)