Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summertime update

It been a while since we've posted to the blog... Summer time is a hard time to keep up with it all as Christy and I spend most of our free time outdoors. A lot has happened at Windy Ridge since our last post so in no particular order:

I've taken apart and cleaned out the pugmill we purchased earlier this spring.
It's an interesting design, somewhat modular as everything slides onto rails and is held together by a pair of long threaded rods.

The vacuum chamber has this strange cylinder which spins in the opposite direction as the auger does.

The chamber in which you feed clay into also has a cylinder which spins in opposition to the auger as well, although this one does not have any protrusions as the vacuum chamber does. Also there is no plunger to push the clay down with... strange.
Accompanying all of this is the largest vacuum pump you've ever seen.

So, it's all put back together and the both the vacuum pump and the pugmill seem to run fine. I just need to run a hose between the two and then... add clay. It's a design I've never seen in a pugmill, so I'm interested to see how it runs. To be honest I'm a little sceptical, especially the lack of a plunger to help push clay into the hopper. I'ld be curious if anybody out there has experience or insight into this pugmill...

We also got a visit this summer from a man who bought a large shop that used to house a pottery. We ended up buying three pieces of equipment from him:

A Venco pugmill which looks to be in good shape

despite having a mouse nest in the auger.
The Venco cleaned up much easier, than the other pugmill.

Unfortunately it doesn't have the original Venco vacuum pump, instead it came with a fairly small vacuum pump... hopefully it will be able to keep up alright. Like our other pugmill this one is operational along with the vacuum pump the two just need a hose to connect them, then "add clay".

We also got a large clay mixer.
It'll take a bit of elbow grease as it's full of hardened clay and has a decent amount of rust. It will also need a new motor as the one attached right now is a three phase motor.

Lastly we got ourselves a large blunger. We have yet to pick up the blunger, and it will require a lot of work as well as it's bolted to the wall and completely filled with hardened glaze. Hopefully within the next week or two we can start progress on getting it cleaned up.

I know what you are thinking "Wow guys, that's a lot of pottery equipment, what could possibly need all that equipment for?". Well, maybe need is a strong word, but we are starting to get ready for Christy to make the switch making wood fired earthenware. I'll be a lot of work as I think we'll end up needing a second studio. Our current studio is barely big enough to support our three chamber kiln and stoneware clay needs. So a second studio may be in the works, along with another kiln sized for Christy, designed to minimize ash deposits on the pottery.

So this is a slow year due to the fact that Christy is in school full time now, and I've been working part time in addition to keeping the pottery going. We're taking the opportunity to plan and prepare for the future though. Dreaming pottery dreams.

We'll that might be enough for one post. I would like to say though that I've recently been given the opportunity to put together a slide presentation about my experiences in clay. I gave an presentation last week for a workshop put together by local wood fired potter David Smith. Then yesterday I had the opportunity to give the same slide show presentation, along with a day of demonstrations for a week long class taught by Minnesota potter Linda Chistianson. In putting together the slide shows I found that I had hardly any photos of my time in North Carolina. So I just wanted to put out a big thanks to Mark Hewitt, Julie Jones, Takuro Shibata, and Alex Matisse. Thanks so much guys for the wonderful pictures!

Lots more to share, but that will have to do for one post

1 comment:

Tim Ayers said...

keeping the dream alive! sounds like great plans