Things have been in transition at Windy Ridge, as the kiln building winds down, and we look forward to making pots and firing. We've set a tentative date for the first firing--November 1st and 2nd. Not too far away. The goal is to be able to make enough pots to fire the first and second chambers, and load the third chamber with unfired saggers for use in future firings. We've spent the last couple of days making and firing test glazes. We've gotten it fairly narrowed down and we think we can get a few of the glazes we are looking for with one more test firing. The little test kiln has been working beautifully. Difficult to get a heavy reduction, but good enough for testing, and quite fast and efficient.By the end of the week we should have our glazes figured out, have the kiln pretty much done, and be making pots.Tomorrow a couple of friends are coming over and helping us to stucco the kiln. We've decided to use a cob mixture on the first chamber--a 5''-6" thick mixture of clay, sand and straw. This mixture gives us a good combination of insulation and thermal mass, and it costs much less than fiber insulation. We're hoping to have a slightly longer firing, maybe somewhere between 36-48 hours (the fact I call a 36-48 hour firing long might seem silly to some, but I guess it's all perspective). The extra thermal mass will help with the longer firing by encouraging the first chamber hold its heat as we fire the second and third chambers. The second and third chambers will be covered with 2" of fiber insulation, and an thinner "stucco" layer of clay, sand and straw to help make it airtight. All the pots in the second or third chambers will all be glazed and won't need as long of a firing. Here's a picture of Christy mixing up a test batch of the cob mixture for the first chamber.
I imagine it might be nice to mix with bare feet, but fall is quickly approaching and the thought of cold water on bare feet just sent shivers up our spines.