I remember the first kiln I bought.
It propelled me into an exciting passion (read ::addiction::) and side adventure that would soon consume more and more of my time and give me more and more success and satisfaction.
It was spring in 2013, and I emailed this girl who was posting online locally, asking if anyone had pottery wheels they’d consider selling or getting rid of. This is how I met my clay buddy, Sarah. I emailed her, just in case she came across extras. We talked, and soon we both wound up driving to a house on the other side of town. We wound up at a garage with some seriously old equipment, and someone’s homemade wheel. I spotted the kiln, an older Paragon kiln, which was in rough shape, looked old, and I assured them that it may cost a lot more to repair it than to purchase. To my excitement, they offered me a modest price and my new clay buddy and I were on our way, with a new kiln and wheel.
Our adventures occurred again, this time taking to Bowling Green and to Campbellsville, Kentucky. First, in Bowling Green, we stopped by a middle-aged woman’s house, who was moving soon. Not only did she have a kiln for sale, but offered me canning jars, extra witness cones, a fondue pot to melt sculpting mold material, and several other goodies. I shared some of the spoils with Sarah, and lauded in our treasures from the day.
Then it was off to Campbellsville, where we picked up three Shimpo brand pottery wheels from a Tim Horton’s camp for kids. They had an incredible kiln I was hoping they’d sell, but they kept it for the kids to paint bisqued tiles. We packed the car up.
Then it was time to head home. We even stopped at a little junk-tique store on the way back. I saw some cool typography on a sign, but that was about it.
Oh, and we may or may not have ran out of gas on the way home. May or may not. (unbeknownst to me, you can actually go another 20 miles even after the “Fuel Low” light comes on and the digital speedometer says “0” miles until empty hits.
Fast forward, I’ve used these two kilns and that homemade wheel from that garage ever since. I’ve added a few bins for packaging materials and other needed goods and supplies have started to build up.
Then, I decided to pull the trigger. I had a good last year, an incredible first artshow and display, and several custom orders were coming in. I wanted to up my game, get production more cost effective, and larger volume all-around. So, I decided to purchase a new kiln.
A visit to Mid South Ceramics (my local distributor) and committing of few of my firstborns later, I purchased a new Skutt 1027. It’s getting ready as we speak for its maiden “voyage” (first firing), and I couldn’t be happier.
What a great feeling it is when you dig down deep and pull from your pockets what it takes to fuel a passion, invest in yourself, your business, and increase your opportunities to do more.
This weekend, my parents came down to visit. And what better thing to do with your dad, than install a 220 line, by splitting the oven-range line into its own box!
After a trip to Home Depot (and then Lowe’s for the wire with HD didn’t have), we measures thrice, shut off power, split the line, installed a box, stripped lots of heavy wires, and ran and installed a new 220 box. Apparently there’s lots of shapes your 220 plug can be. Outs, its the a straight top, and two angled bottom plugs. Mines, the highest amperage plug, 40 amps. Our line is rated up to 60 amps, so no running the oven while I’m firing!
Apparently, it depends on your amperage. Most kilns say “Don’t change your plug,” but as long as it can handle the amperage, and your box is suited accordingly, change those plugs away! Overprotect, don’t underamp.
My kilns are a Cress, and a Paragon. Don’t get too excited though–mine are older than me probably, and got each one for $100. So far, we’ve invested $200 into kilns and $150 into wiring, making my current up-start total equalling $250.
Check out the space! I’m hoping to add a wedging table on top of the cement divider, as well as some actual furniture (non-kiln) to make the space by the fireplace a man-cave–dividing the basement into both a studio space AND a man-cave, but that’s another project. You can clearly see the separate areas.
I’m looking for:
- a woodstove
- carpet tiles
- and an old washtub-style sink.
That’s most of it for now. Check it out!
If you know me, I love the color orange. So much so, that as a child, I even turned orange and earned the nickname “pumkinpuss” for a short time. Well, nothing much has changed. Except, I don’t get called pumkinpuss…
In setting up my own studio, I’ve been thinking about what my first glazes are going to be. Should I just get one, and learn the kiln first? Should I make a whole bunch of really basic forms just to learn how to throw better?
Well, regardless, I’ve decided that I’m going to use glazes that I like, and do batches–to explore thin applications, thicker applications, and how the kiln reacts with my work.
I came across Amaco’s Potter’s Choice Glazes. And I have to say, that I’m in love–with all of them. Its absolutely going to be the hardest thing to figure out which ones I want to use first!
So, naturally, I gravitate towards one specific one–you guessed it–the orangey one. Called Albany Slip Brown, its a creamsicle-style glazes, that breaks cream-colored over edges, and is an absolute dream. Do I want a whole set of dinner ware? No. Do I want to make awesome stuff and slather it on there? Yes, yes please.