Saturday, April 10, 2010

Loading at Bethel Horizons

Loading at Bethel Horizons is all done. Krista Loomans, Aaron Weaver and I loaded the kiln this week with help from Stephen... whose last name I apparently don't know. Bethel Horizons is a church owned venture holding church related events, along with clay events. I believe in the future they hope to become more of a national destination holding larger ceramic workshops. For now though they have very nice facilities, including a two chamber wood kiln designed and built by David Smith.

David included a small firebox between the first and second chamber allowing the second chamber to be fired by itself. A nice feature for smaller workshops.

And though David does not use a grate system he conveniently left a space for grates to be added into the main firebox of the first chamber. Krista and I took advantage of that and put a grate in for this firing:
Loading is all done now, though I forgot to take a picture at the very end of the loading... here are a couple of pictures of the loading in progress (we're just firing the first chamber):

The plan is to start preheating the kiln Monday morning. Hold the temperature around 200 degrees until Wednesday morning and then start pushing the temperature up. Hopefully reaching top temperature in the front of the kiln Friday morning and finish side stoking the kiln Sunday morning. Quite a bit longer firing than Christy and I are used to. Krista perfers her pots with more ash build up and more reduced than we ussually aim for with firings in our own kiln. I imagine this will be a good learning experience for everybody involved. Personally I'm excited to see how our pots come out of this firing. Though we did leave most of our pots unglazed, as our ash glazes won't react to well to the heavy ash build up and slow cooling of this coming firing. I've been toying with the idea of extending the firing in our first chamber to build up more ash and ember on the pots. This firing should offer us some good insights.
With the pots from this firing we should have a pretty full gallery for "Clay in May". I hope everybody in the area will be able to make it out for the event, which will include all the potters in the Mineral Point area displaying new work, along with opening up their studios to the public. In the evening Windy Ridge Pottery (that's us!) will be hosting a party in the evening to celebrate. This will be the first time this event is being held. We're all pretty excited.
I'll post pictures of the firing as it progresses.


ang said...

wow this should be very different to your firing the kiln looks huge! I look forward to hearing about it..

Stephan said...

Hey Joe, this is Stephan. It's great to see that you guys have a presence here on the web, I've enjoyed taking a look into your studio life as well! I'm looking forward to the firing this week, I think our night shift should be a fun one. Hope the preheat is going well, and we'll see you later this week!

Aaron Sober said...

Hey guys,

I spent time at Bethel in high school with Don Hunt. Fond memories of working in the outdoor studio and of Don, a great teacher. Love the pics from pastoral WI.