Thursday, August 4, 2011
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.