Thursday, August 4, 2011

Slaying Dragons


It's been a long, tough week. But looking up at those bronze pieces all ready to get polished up makes me happy. Makes me feel like something good got done besides dealing with dragons.


I made myself another bracelet this week. The bronze button on it was one I made a while ago for no particular reason. I'm really liking leather these days. I think it's bringing out the Xena Warrior Princess in me but minus the leather corset. I really don't have the figure for it and besides it seems much too hot a garment for the summer weather.


It's a pretty simple bracelet. Just a double strand of leather, button, lampwork bead, wrapped three times.It's a simple piece.  I think I needed a little simple.


Did you ever wonder if I might make any cermaic pieces again? Me too. That's where the slaying dragons comes in. I have this wonderful new stoneware clay. It's quite a departure from what I might normally use in my designs. I've been wanting to try out some new ideas and a few months ago decided to buy a new small kiln. A smaller kiln would allow me to do some testing and have a quicker turn around on results. I could do special orders more easily. Lots of reasons really why I wanted this.

I carefully researched kilns, firing specifications, wiring specifications, even did testing on the wiring in my studio to be sure that it met the specifications of the kiln. I decided on a model from a manufacturer who has a very good reputation. I have one of their kilns and it's been a good kiln. One that I like very much. I bought from a ceramics supplier that I use much of the time. I trusted these people.


I've lost most of two loads in my brand new kiln. It works but it does not actually fire to the temperatures that are specified by the manufacturer and the supplier. It comes close but not close enough. It's been a week of back and forth between the supplier, manufacturer, and myself. It's been pretty awful with both the manufacturer and the supplier indicating that the problem is mine. That I do not have the optimum electrical supply that this kiln would require. By the way, no one else in the US does either. It's summer, voltage drops, etc, I won't get into the specifics. The kiln does not reliably operate in the range that it should and even the manufacturer sort of admits this.

We may or may not be making some progress on this. It's been exhausting. There's been this niggling feeling that being a woman is not helping out here. Ceramics for many years was dominated by men, especially when it came to the technical side of thing like kilns. I thought we'd gone past that. But no, only when I put my husband on the phone did we begin to take even a tiny shuffle in any direction like progress. That's quite depressing. But the problem has still not been resolved. I feel like I am slaying dragons and desperately wishing that Xena might show up to give me a hand.

I could go on at length in this mini rant of mine. I don't usually rant on this blog. But just this once it feels quite good let some of this out. So thank you for taking the time to listen just a little bit.




Do you see that little bird up there on our feeder? It's a cardinal. They visit me every day. Today I'll be in my studio getting out some clay and watching for these little fellows to come by and pay a visit. They make me happy. They help me to keep life in perspective.

19 comments:

Marcie Abney said...

I'm so sorry, LeAnn, that is beyond frustrating. I honestly hope you get the situation sorted out!

maryharding said...

Hi LeAnn, I do love those metal clay pieces and the simple bracelet. I have had trouble with one of my small kilns getting it to fire well to the stoneware/porcelain temps too. Very frustrating. That particular one I just use for cone 06 now. It took me a long time to get up the courage to try another small kiln for higher temps and now I do have one that works for me and what I do. I certainly sympathize with you. I hope they resolved this for you soon.

allykat said...

I really like your new bronze pieces but it was your ceramic beads that I first fell in love with, so am keeping my fingers crossed for you that the kiln situation will be resolved soon.

steufel said...

I can totally relate to that women/men thing. I hate this so much. Anyway, your bronze pieces and your bracelet are gorgeous!

steufel said...

I can totally relate to that women/men thing. I hate this so much. Anyway, your bronze pieces and your bracelet are gorgeous!

sharon said...

I have worked at a tile wholesaler industry for 24 years, and as soon as a man asks me a question, which I can answer, 90% of the time they turn around and ask the man that works with me the same question....to get the same amswer......arrrrggghhh!! I rreally hope you can get that resolved. Love, love, love your bronze pieces....really!

Mellisa said...

Oh blech! I'm sorry you have dragons...they can be a bugger to get rid of...almost as bad as ants.

I had the same problem with my big daddy kiln...unfortunately it was a Craigslist purchase and even after replacing the elements it still didn't reach temp. I ended up reselling it on Craigslist and getting a brand new one.

Greer said...

Voltage drop is a pain, but not as much as that patronising garbage some males hand out. Have had some stand up public fight over that Grrrrrrr.
Sending good vibrations

windrock studio said...

Hey LeAnn, Larry had been thinking of getting a smaller kiln, too, but at our new place there is 220 hookup. He got them both our where he could test them just this morning and so far so good! As much as they've been moved and stored, that's amazing!
Sure hope things ease up for you and you can have fun just making more gorgeous art ... I know we are looking forward to playing real soon!

Judy said...

LeAnn, whatever you make I love! However, I can not imagine firing up the kiln in this heat!
Your bronze beads are just beautiful and I do believe I saw some bead caps, lovely!

barbarasfernald.com said...

You are rockin' that bronze clay LeAnn! Great beads! You're an inspiration. Love the bead caps. Have you ever made any bronze birds? Your ceramic birds were an inspiration to make my own version in bronze and copper.
So sorry to hear about your new kiln woes. I hope a solution comes your way soon.
The cardinals are great for keeping the spirits up. We have had a pair near the house this year. They sing all the time. It lightens any load, for me.

stregata said...

So sorry to hear of the troubles - it is sooooo frustrating when a manufacturer doesn't tell you the truth about the product you are buying... and having them be chauvinist is really exasperating... no, it is insulting, actually. Hope you can get this worked out. Sending hugs.

stacilouise said...

Hang in there! I feel your pain. What an awful experience. Its no fun when things don't go right, and you waste time and materials....we've all been there. BUT, dealing with the company sounded even more trying!

I remember way back when my husband and I went to buy me a car stereo (he wasn't my husband then) And everyplace we went, I would ask the questions, and they would talk to him! I didn't buy from any of them. Since I was the one buying it, not him...I wanted a little respect. Ended up going somewhere alone and got great service. RRGgg. MEN!
(sorry- I kinda ranted too;-) Felt good though, right?

SueBeads said...

I love your bronze pieces so much! I do know what you mean about it still being a "man's" world. I too have had to put boyfriend on the phone to get movement for something. It's ridiculous. What century are we living in, anyways????

Pearl and Pebble said...

YUMMMMY pile of beads ya got there LeAnn! You want me to "talk" to the kiln people? I've still got a good b. going on from my chat with Cigna.....!

Patty said...

LeAnn, I feel for you. I've had similar technical difficulties before, and there's nothing more frustrating. I actually abandoned a supplier because of their un-helpful (to say the least) behavior. I hope it's resolved soon, but in the meantime, I'm very inspired by your bronze clay work!

Beadroe said...

Please don't apologize for discussing a valid problem. I read blogs to learn, I learned form your experience. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. If not I hope you will discuss it in more detail so we all won't have the same experience.
Thanks again.

Laura Twiford said...

We all need to rant once in awhile, and this is a safe place to do it because we can all understand the frustrations. I hope the kiln issue gets resolved soon. I was thinking of getting a smaller kiln for clay so I may contact you privately for more info.

On the discrimination front, 3 years ago I decided to ditch my Suburban and get a Prius with the gas being so high. We went to the dealership and I extended my hand to introduce myself to the salesman and he turned to my husband and shook his hand and started to talk to him at which point my husband said" i don't know why you're talking to me, it's My wife's car" and then he turned to me and I introduced myself very politely and then asked for a different salesperson. It is infuriating especially when it is so obvious. Hang in there!

My Life Under the Bus said...

UGH! In this day and age - I guess this is wearing the chanting comes in ........ so sorry for your aggrivation.