As I am gearing up for the annual Potters' Studio Tour here in Indiana County I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be involved in an active arts community. It may be pretty loose knit with its own little factions but hey, for the most part people are usually willing to lend a hand or get involved. Which leads me to my little Chautauqua reunion I had over the weekend with Dan Kuhn who worked with me all summer as the studio tech and visiting faculty member and face jug maker extraordinaire Jim McDowell. Dan fired the Phoenix Fast Fire Kiln at IUP(Indiana University of Pennsylvania) where I work and where he is finishing up his MFA . He and Jim pretty much filled it full leaving a little room for squatter potters like me and whomever else was standing around to throw a few pieces in too. Well, unfortunately it was a miserable weekend for firing a kiln, especially one that is not under any sort of roof. I stayed around a short while...brought them my old E-Z Up tent to help provide shelter and drank a few beers. The bad new was that getting to temperature was not in the cards due to several factors. Dan and I talked on Monday morning before I left for the studio and decided that while the kiln was still hot, why not just give it another try. The kiln was dry, hot, and loaded still(like me when Im on vacation in Florida!)...it made good sense. I stopped over around 4 and stayed until almost 11:00...cone 9 was soft and I went home. Dan fired it up right... we blocked up the firebox some to restrict the air intake and put the torch to it for periods of time in between heavy stoking and vigorous raking. Dan said they salted and finished off around midnight. I was happy I could put my two cents in and lend a hand...there is nothing more disappointing than spending a whole lot of time working a kiln only for it not to get to temperature. I'm happy for Dan, Jim and all 5 of my little pieces that were in the firing. Results on Thursday!
Oh, and that Potters' Tour I mentioned...October 17&18...it is around this whole area and has 7-8 studios with at least double the amount of clay folk involved. Its a great tour with a lot of great work at peak time around here for autumn color.
I leave you gentle reader with a final gratuitous Autumn image...heading up to the studio.