firing rudy

i don’t know how i got through school with out ever firing a gas kiln, but i did.  now, looking back, i think it’s too bad.  but a big goal for me this year is to increase my technical skill and build on the firings i did in japan.

atmospheric finishes and high firing may not come into play in my work naturally.   i’m a form girl.  i work hard on intricate surfaces, smooth or textured, small details repeated, layers built up.  i enjoy a plain finish that lets the form speak but i certainly don’t want what i do to be dictated by my lack of technical skill.

r told me how he became kiln tech.  he said he wanted to know how everything worked.  didn’t want to leave his pot’s surface up to chance so he asked tons of questions, followed people as they fired, read past logs and one day the kiln tech left and, having never fired a kiln solo, he was the new kiln tech.

tuesday r had rudy, our minnesota flat top, loaded and the salt kiln cranking. under r’s tutelage i lit the pilot’s and we agreed to meet at 10 pm to fire.  before i left i got to test my skill by putting the salt kiln into body reduction and taking out right before leaving for the day.  went home for 2 hours of sleep then back to the studio.

we started doing turn ups, me checking with r while he worked on a stalling salt kiln outside.  i glazed, filled an electric kiln and continued turning rudy up.  near dawn we put rudy into body reduction, and headed outside to finally salt the salt kiln.  i felt really lucky to do the salting since i hadn’t endured through the rest of the firing.  as the salt spilled into the kiln, crackling in the heat, violet, lavender and sunshine flames and white smoke poured from the ports.  it was freaking glorious.

finally around 6 am i left to get some sleep before glaze reduction and before having to start work at creative clay.  unfortunately rudy wasn’t ready in time so i had to miss the end of the firing, but next time.  i saw the work which came out of both kilns today and i felt kind of connected to it.

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