Soulgama 21 Firing – March 2009

 

A crew of eleven people fired Stephen Mickey’s Soulgama for the 21st time from March 26-30, 2009.  We had two days of  loading and a little less than 3 days of firing.  We opened and unloaded the kiln on Saturday, April 11th.  We ususally open the kiln one week after firing but since several of us had other firings the weekend of April 4th Stephen decided to unload the kiln after a two week cooling.  The extra cooling time didn’t seem to have affected the look of the pots.

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After two days of loading we started the fire late Friday afternoon.  Most of us had to go to the Ceramics Showcase meeting in Multnomah to pick our booths for the show.  Sandy Segna stayed and tended the kiln in our absence.

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On Saturday night we had our usuall pizza and potluck  dinner where Jim, Robin and Nathan Hominiuk cook homemade pizzas in the pizza oven made out of kiln bricks.  Everyone involved with the firing and invited guests bring a wide assortment of pizza toppings.

 

 

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To add to the festivities we also celbrated Brenda Scott’s birthday.  Sarah Chenoweth brought cake and noisemakers for everyone.  It was quite the festive evening and we even remembered to stoke the kiln when it was needed. 

The firing went well with good results.  We had problems with the pyrometers and consequently we let the front of the kiln get a little hotter than usual.  Good for my large stoneware pots … not quite so good for some of the porcelain and porcelaineous stonewares.  Except for the front rank of shelves the front of the kiln produced its usual beautiful, drippy and glossy pots.

The center of the kiln produced glossy drippy pots near the first stoke alley and quieter surfaces further back until the second stoke alley.  I want to try some sagger pots for the floor of the kiln in the middle section since this is often cooler and less ashey.  The pack of the kiln had pots with glazes since it is somewhat cooler.  Some great pots came out of the back.  I am learning more and more how to prepare my work for this section of the kiln and was pleased with the results.

Front Section
Front Section
Middle Section

Middle Section

Back Section

Back Section

 
Two weeks after the firing we opened, unloaded and cleaned up the kiln site and stacked the next load of wood.
 
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Digger Mountain Anagama – April 2009

 

A large crew of people fired Jay Widmer’s Digger Mountain Anagama from April 2nd through 5th, 2009.  This was an interesting firing in that most of the wood available for this firing was wet and unseasoned.  Wet wood and too slow of a temperature gain early on resulted in a rather cool firing.  We only dropped cone 11 in the front of the kiln and cone 9 in the back.  Reduction seemed to be a little heavy in this firing also … probably a result of the wet wood.  At first when we unloaded the kiln I was disappointed in the lack of melted ash on the pots.  However, after I got the pots home and cleaned up I really started to like and appreciate the softer surfaces that came from the back half of the kiln.  The front of the kiln had good ash build up and many of the surfaces sported platelets on their surfaces. 

 

Here are some photos of the firing.

img_0052_300pix1Pots queued up to be loaded into the kiln.

 

 

 

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The start of the firing before the door was set into place.

 

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Just after the door was set in place.  The two pots

on the step in front of the fire box are my pieces and

were some of my favorite pots to come out of the firing.

 

 

 

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Peter and Nick Widmer and Lynda Farmer doing the side-stoking. 

 

 

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Jay stoking the kiln after Lynda Farmer and Nick Widmer finished the side-stoking.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Front rank of shelves.

 

 

 

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2nd range of shelves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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3rd range of shelves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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4th range of shelves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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5th range of shelves
 
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6th range of shelves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
img_0043_300pix1Lynda Farmer, Lauren Scott and Allison Widmer look at the pieces on one of the tables.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
img_0091_cropped_300pixThe April 2009 crew

October 2008 Digger Mountain Anagama Firing

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Front of the Digger Mountain Anagama

We fired Jay Widmer’s Digger Mountain Anagama near Alsea, Oregon during October 24th – 26th and opened and unloaded the kiln on October 31st. Below are pictures of the different ranges in the kiln as we unloaded them and other pictures of the firing. I will probably add more as pictures become available. I will certainly add pictures of some of the pots when I get around to getting them taken. 

 

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Splitting wood in preparation for firing

   

As you can see the weather was nearly perfect for firing.  Here we are getting the wood split for both the front-stoking and side-stoking. This firing we emphasized adding more wood to the side-stoke. We also used more maple and wet alder than in previous firings.

 

 

 

 

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Loading the kiln

 Lauren and Sandy (inside the kiln) are helping to load pots into the kiln.

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting the fire

Lynda lights the fire as Hank and Lauren look on. Right after lighting the kiln the batteries ran out on my camera so I don’t have pictures of stoking the kiln.

 

 

 

 

 

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Front range of pots just beyond the fire box

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Another view of the front range

After a 48 hour firing and a week of cooling we get a chance to see the results.  this is the front range just beyond the fire box. There is a lot of ash deposited on the pots in the front but you can a fair amount of color in the pots a little further back.

 

 

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Second range of shelves

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Third range of shelves just in front of stoke alley

 

As we proceeded further back towards the side-stoke alley through ranges 2 and 3 we see more and more color and less ash deposited on the front side of the pieces.

 

 

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Fourth range of shelves just beyond the stoke alley

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Fifth range of shelves

 Range 4 on the back side of the stoke alley had some damaged shelves from the side-stoke wood hitting the nitrite-bonded silicon carbide shelves. This resulted in several damaged shelves and damaged pots. Ranges 5 and 6 have often been quieter zones of the kiln but this firing this section had much more action.

 

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Sixth range of shelves

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Seventh range of shelves at the very back of the kiln

   

The very back of the kiln had wonderful color and ash.

 

 

 

 

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Reception line for unloading the pots

Lynda, Lauren and Joe form the “reception line” to look at each pot as it comes out of the kiln.  We pass each pot down the line and stack them on tables that generally contain pots from the same range of shelves. This way after the unloading we look at the pieces from each range of shelves to learn what is happening in each zone of the kiln. The information we glean from this will inform our decisions in the next firing.

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Checking out the results from the back of the kiln

Lauren, Pat, Martha and Lynda check out the pieces from the back of the kiln.

 

 

 

 

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Sandy checks out Deb's badger

Jeff, Lauren, Martha and Sandy look at the pieces from the bakc of the kiln.  Sandy is checking out Deb’s badger.

 

 

More pots from the firing. Pieces in the photo below were behind the stoke alley.

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Tables of pots from the firing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandy’s and Lauren’s vases show the extent of the color in this firing. 

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A range of color

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Cleaning shelves

Cleaning up the shelves after the unloading.