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Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo
Wadd are you doing?
I am starting this blog the day after my first wood firing with Susan Wells. Susan had a dream eight years ago, after attending a wood fire workshop at Penland, to build a wood kiln and somehow she talked me into helping her this past year put that plan into action.
May 3rd, 2008- first firing at Maidenhair Studios in Hillsborough. The weather was perfect, mid 70's, a few clouds and then late in the evening just a very small sprinkle of rain for the veggies and flowers.
We started stoking the kiln at 8am on Saturday and held a steady low fire until 7pm, then we cranked it up. Food arrived, musicians arrived, friends arrived and the firing officially began.We reached cone 9 Sunday morning around 10am. We had exactly enough pots made to fit the kiln, we burned every stick of wood that was split and the cones all melted pretty much they way they were supposed to. Susan and I had 4 amazing kids as our support team, Jolene-Susan's daughter, Jonas-Susan's son, John- a friend and Wesley- my daughter. They chopped wood, mixed the soda, stoked the fire, made us coffee at 4am and just offered the very best moral support. Susan's husband, Tim, invited all of his musician friends with their fiddles, banjos, flutes, and guitars and other friends that brought food and wine, and it was a joyful event! Laura Farrow was also there stoking the fire for her amazing porcelain sculpture. Susan and I both have pop up VW vans and the kids set up camp in them near the garden. No sleeping, some mischief, possibly hallucinating at one point, not sure.............. :)
Wesley and I were talking on the way home about how we almost forgot about the pots in the kiln. It became more about feeding the fire and melting the cones, talking with great friends and marveling at the stars, then watching the sunrise in the pasture. Around 5am Sunday morning it was just me and Susan and the kiln that needed to reach cone 9. Ed brought strong coffee around 8am and that was just what was needed to keep a strong stoke for the fire. Tim brought us breakfast on silver trays, and we toasted bread and bagels by the air holes.(I am sure that is not the proper term but you get the idea.)
Wesley and I stopped at the Cook Out in Durham for banana shakes and onion rings as we headed for home around 1pm Sunday. Yum! I know that sounds unappealing but it was really good.
This firing was a monumental step in my long, long journey as a potter.
Now we wait to open up and see what happened. I will post pictures as soon as a get them downloaded on to the computer.

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