My schedule was really tight leading up to this second firing. I ended up finishing up my spray glazing at dusk with Jay as my assistant. I decided to fire a day early just so I could take my kids swimming with some friends as a last summer blast before school starts Monday. If you don't know why we start school so early here, this post can refresh your memory.
Tuesday's firing didn't go as well as the previous one. The bottom was hotter than the top and dampering in wasn't fixing the problem. The top was not stacked as tight as usual, so I winged it and hoped for the best. We unloaded in a rush Thursday afternoon, and I haven't been home enough to really examine the pots. I did have 2 tests come out really well, and the shino in the back looks good.
John Britt once told me that I'd need to fire my kiln at least a dozen times before I really knew how to fire it. I've probably fired that many times, but I think I've backed myself into a bit of a corner. I *know* how to fire the kiln one way. It works, but I think I could get more reduction. However, when I try to change anything, like use the damper to fire rather than turning up the gas or air, or slow down the climb, everything seems to go to hell in a handbasket. I can eventually end up where I want to, but the ride there can be pretty wild.
The Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair went pretty well for me. It started out pretty stressful. We had been down in Asheville for Allison's haircut, and ran into traffic getting back. Then I had to pick up my beloved truck from the mechanic where it had been getting the brakes fixed. I pulled out of the lot and immediately realized that I had almost no power. I thought that I was totally screwed since I had only a few hours left to get my stuff loaded and into Burnsville to set up. I called Jay and pushed the gas pedal to the floor just trying to get up to speed. Long story short, we got set up in time, and Jay was able to diagnose the problem which was a stuck rear brake. I'm visiting our mechanic tomorrow.
The Fair was packed both days even though it was pretty hot. There are lots of "granny crafts" mixed in with us serious artists. The guy in the booth next to me was selling plywood bears like hotcakes. I don't expect to sell baskets at a crafts fair, but I like to take a few to show folks. People definitely slowed down to look at the white basket. The women on the other side of me were selling jewelry and do an astonishing 40 shows a year. I don't do many shows, but this one has a discounted booth fee since I'm local, so it's a no-brainer. I still might apply for a few this fall. I've got plenty of pots.