Welcome to my blog. I will attempt to make it much more than just a pitiful list of the relentlessly mundane minutiae of my daily existence but if you feel that I have failed try to imagine all the stuff that I haven't posted.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

New vid - past firing


Here is anew video I've put up, while waiting for this kiln to cool. This was shot in 2010.

Monday, 29 August 2011


The rain held off long enough for me to actually light the fire.....

It was an experimental firing - all the pieces in it were/are tests and, so that I didn't have to fill the entire kiln, I reconstructed the inside to block off the second chamber.

I wanted to see what a shorter firing was like as well, especially considering all the work in there was glazed in some way.
My concern with this modification to the kiln was that it would collapse, or act like another 3 feet of chimney greatly increasing the pull of the chimney. In the event neither concerns were founded - on the contrary, the draw on the firebox was reduced and I had two sticking points where I had to work very hard to get a temperature rise.
I lit the fire at 7.30 am, started reduction at 2.30 pm and continued firing till 3am when cone 10 was down and cone 11 just touched. 19.5 hours of hard stoking on my own and I am now absolutely knackered. But the day itself was fine. By 1am I had my second (or third) wind. Totally wired on adrenaline and fizzy pop. But it was fine - I could have gone on for a few hours more if needed.

Toasted the firing with a pint of Fullers ESB (best beer in the world) and sealed it all up. It's still at 900C at 1pm this afternoon.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Many many hours later......

.....after rock crushing, clay crushing, blunging, stiffening, making and glazing I am finally almost ready for a wood firing!!!!

Very exciting. After many gas test firings it is now time to see how all these materials behave in a wood firing. The kiln is all cleaned out from ash, wadding and red admiral butterflies(!), and I've made the most of this (sadly rare) sunny day to get all the wood ready.

Beech this time - perhaps the last of it (depends how much I use). Next time will be hornbeam, which I haven't fired with before.
The kiln is two chamber but as it is a sort of test firing I am going to brick off a lot of the second chamber so I am only really using the firebox area. Hopefully this will work well - just have to see. I will try and post a video of the firing.....

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Ou est ici?

Hmmmm. Je ne suis pas sure que ma Francais est any bon at all.

Peut etre my O'level Franglais has given it away.... White sand, cloudy, geologically intricate igneous coastline? Could well be Cornwall but if I mention that after this walk I washed down a plate of gloriously fresh huitres with un bouteille de delicious Muscadet you will know that it is that geologically linked area in France, North Brittany.

It was a holiday of course, but a man in search of rocks is never really on holiday and when I saw the pink granite that the area is famous for, sculpted into these amazing Henry Moore'ish shapes I couldn't resist.

I must've been the only person on the ferry to Dover who had his car weighed down with rock rather than cases of tasteless beer and Australian wine.
I wasn't intending to collect anything here but the beaches were amazing for the variety of rock pebbles that were piled up. Granite (pink and white), schist, mica schist, slate, dolorite, great beautiful slabs of quartz and loads of others that I can't identify. Certainly the richest variety of materials in one small area that I have found so far. It's the first place that I have managed to find everything I would need to make a series of glazes in one square metre.
Oh yes the holiday was fine....good swimming, great food and wine, Belgian beer, historic towns, BUT WOW...You should see the rocks!!!