This is the view of the small soda kiln named Wee Bear, the front stack and the last I’ll ever pack at Maze Hill Pottery. We fired this yesterday evening and will likely wait until Monday to remove the wicket and peak inside. After having looked back through the kiln log book we counted thirty-nine firings during the past three years, a total of four continuous days spent spraying soda into the kiln and some eight-thousand pots fired.
I included a rather special pot in the pack and it can be seen on the top shelf, the white mug on the lefthand side, special for me anyway. It’s the first ever mug I made at Maze Hill Pottery, thrown on my trial day it has since been stashed high up on a wareboard outside, forgotten about until only a few days ago. It has a wonky handle and the thrown form is quite suspect and beneath it is my name scratched into the clay. Out of all these pots packed into the kiln it’s this I’m most looking forward to seeing and it’s easily the worst piece inside.
It took a long time before Lisa Hammond let me pack this completely by myself, not only is it those pot I make for Lisa that go inside but it’s all her own personal pots too. It’s mostly raw glazed and we raw fire too, which makes the whole process of packing these a far more fragile and careful one, even gripping a pot poorly as you shuffle it into place might cause it to crack when fired. It’s a lot of responsibility and I do still occasionally break pots, I know I certainly wouldn’t let anyone else pack my own little gas firings.
This kiln has produced some spectacular pots and it’ll continue to do so I’m sure as the next apprentice takes over and Lisa carries on producing her sodaware. Lets face it, my posts over the next few weeks are going to all be a little sentimental.