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.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Back Up from Down Under

Aaaaah......jet lag. It's been a long time since I experienced falling asleep standing up. I flew in yesterday from a truly unique experience at the Edge of the Shelf Woodfire Conference in Mystery Bay Australia. The location was stunning - on the edge of a saltwater lake, right next to the ocean.
Those clouds soon disappeared and we had 3 weeks of glorious blue skies. Unfortunately for my blog, the internet access was extremely limited so I wasn't able to post live. Instead I will put up a series of posts that illustrate the event.

There were 21 demonstrators from around the world - France, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, Brazil, Nigeria and the UK, invited by Aussie woodfirer Daniel Lafferty and his team. The venue was originally built as a yoga retreat, with a central venue, individual yurts and cabins on acres of beautiful coastal land, that is now often used as a wedding venue. Luxury!
A number of marquees and tents had been erected, one being our 'studio', with racks, tables, wheels and pallets of clay. The first week was taken up with demonstrations, everyone working hard to make enough work to fill the kiln that was being built at the same time. Fueled by great food, excitement and Coopers Pale Ale, the making sessions went well into the small hours - it was almost like being at college again. Seeing the variety of making styles and work produced from the same materials was inspirational.
The arch of the kiln was finished by about day 4, then it was covered by a fireclay, sand and cow dung mortar. I counted myself lucky not to have to mix and apply this but it was impossible to escape the smell of it cooking as the kiln warmed up during the firing.
Most of the clays supplied were commercial but there was an interesting local clay brought in by Daniel, and I made up a glaze from pumice that I collected on the nearby beach.
More to follow soon........

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