Choo Choo

I've been away from the blog for a few weeks, as I was at a conference, and then studio reno-ing (more on that another day) and then Supercrawl. A start of a busy September indeed!

Hamilton mugs! 

Hamilton mugs! 

Now that I'm back in the swing of things (and the fire bans have been lifted), I've stuffed my van with pots and have headed up north to start firing for the holiday season! This is my first time firing a train kiln, a kiln design that looks like a train car, and when fired correctly should make that warm and cozy chugging sound. My kind of sound. 

Pots unpacked and ready to be loaded

Pots unpacked and ready to be loaded

This firing is particularly special, as it is the last firing this kiln will ever see! After unloading next week, Duncan Aird and I will be tearing her down, and giving the bricks a new life in our very own kiln back down in the Hammer! Buildings are underway and we're hoping to have the beauty built before Christmas. 

So I'm up here toasting this sweet kiln many thanks, with good company, and good food, and looking forward to many firings ahead!

Jeff Martens, loading the kiln like a boss. 

Jeff Martens, loading the kiln like a boss. 

Stacked.  

Stacked.  

Wood Season

brazil

Over the past few years I've found that I work best under pressure; I need deadlines and commitments to work efficiently. At the beginning of each week I set myself a schedule of what I'd like to accomplish, on which day. It's wood firing season, and with a woodfiring on the horizon, time management becomes imperative. For each firing I plan the days I will sand and glaze, when I need to get my last bisque firing in, and how much time it will take for pieces to dry. This planning activates a side of my brain that I really enjoy using – I feel joy while filling out calendars and date books.

Last week I unloaded work from my fourth firing this year, and will be loading my fifth this Saturday. While I still need to sand and wash the pieces we just unloaded, I am instead pulling handles on cups and jugs, finishing up details on prototype vases, and adding rims to serving dishes for the firing coming up. Studio life is a constant balancing and juggling act – one that I am starting to get comfortable with. While one tray of bowls dries you throw creamers. While the creamers are drying you roll out slabs to get them stiffening and then start to trim your bowls. When the slabs are stiff enough to work with you build the walls for vases and slowly dry them while you finish the creamers. On it goes, a carousel.

Here are some photos of the pots that came out of last week's firing. It was my first time leading a firing in the Manabigama, and was delighted to have a great time of eager potters who wanted to learn about firing with wood. The pots turned out delightful.

insides

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Home Sweet Home

It's only been three weeks and I'm already starting to feel like my little house in Wiarton is "home". Not only do I have the space to plant a vegetable garden and have campfires, but I have seriously enjoyed the kitchen. One of my (self-diagnosed) obsessive compulsive tendencies, is my need to be in complete control of the food that goes in and out of the fridge. I like to buy the groceries, put them away, and keep a mental inventory checklist in the back of my head. I feel the need to know every item in the fridge or cupboard and when they need to be eaten. It just makes planning meals so much easier. Now that I live somewhere where I control the food, I find I am eating much healthier and making conscious decisions about the things I consume. IMG_3219

Yesterday I left Burlington at 5:45am and got to Wiarton in time to eat some breakfast and head to work. Surprisingly, the drive was quite enjoyable. I hate driving in the dark, especially for three hours with no one to talk to. Waking up early, however, I got to watch the sun rise and listen to the am DJ on CBC Radio 2. It was light enough out to enjoy the scenery on my ride.

This week I'm making medium-sized bowls, the kind used most often for serving at meals. It is the perfect size for a two-person salad. Three and a half pounds, 4 1/4" tall, 10 1/2" wide. I'm getting pretty good at throwing to a gauge.