The past week has gone by the most quickly of any so far. It began with loading the kiln, a nearly full load with the work for the “History Lessons” show. 1000 mouths each had to be perched on handmade props, five sculptures and several pots. The inside of the kiln is built each time with high fired ceramic shelves and bricks. Accounting for the possibility that parts could melt, several of my sculptures had to be propped up with bricks in the kiln to prevent them falling over. The gas was lit and the work preheated overnight, temperatures were raised all of the next day to reach about 2300 degrees. I had built the work so fast, the possibility of cracks opening up was still very real to me. I tried hard not to imagine what the glazes would look like because they never, ever, do.
Loading the kiln on a 95 degree day was hard work. What was really hard, though, was unloading a hot kiln on another 95 degree day. The work was cool enough but the inside of the kiln remained very warm as I worked. The results of the kiln were very good, thanks no doubt to John Jessiman who controlled his kiln by instinct, fired in heavy reduction (creating a toasty color in the clay) and provided me with recipes with many incredible glazes.
As if the week was not fast and furious enough, I hit a pothole and destroyed the oil pan on my car. Timing is everything and this was the worst possible time. My tow truck arrived on Tuesday…Towgirlz Towing with a pink star logo. I gave the driver and his young daughter, Savannah, a nickel tour of the studios before he towed away my sad little rocket-ship car. Unfortunately, my car will not be making the trip to install the show. A fellow resident is letting me borrow her car, which is incredibly kind. This is not an easy place to be without a vehicle. If I were in Portland, I’d hop on a bus a block from my house. I’ve moved household on the bus in Portland.
The lack of a vehicle did help me focus. I had to install hooks on the back of 1000 pieces which may be the most tedious thing I’ve ever done in the name of art. Now, it’s Friday morning. I’m running the checklist for installing. Postcards on the way, PR done, work packed, install kit packed. A few things to write and get printed this morning and I am ready to go. Looking forward to getting the show on the road, literally-I suppose.
The brass ring is the opening reception. I am so thrilled to have an opportunity to share what I do with my distant family, and just to have this time to reconnect with them and the state of Virginia. Seeing old school friends will be lots of fun and I really hope some will turn up for the opening. But wait, is there a second brass ring? At the same time as the opening, the Noborigama at Cub Creek is just coming to life. The firing will take nearly a week and then cool for the same. I have go into Fredericksburg for the opening and return right away to help with the many arduous tasks surrounding this firing-shelf scraping, loading, preparing wood, stoking and more. This is my first time wood firing my work but I have a small selection of pottery and one sculpture. The new pots will be available 12-4 on the last day of the show, Friday August 25th, fresh from the kiln. I’ll be around all day on Friday and give an informal artist talk at 1:30pm.