I write this as I am still a bit groggy and exhausted. Another wood firing is done at Baltimore Clay Works. All that is left to be done is unload and clean the shelves. We will do that Wednesday morning; a little pre-Thanksgiving treat.
Jim and I mudded the doors about 10 in the morning while preheating. Around 11 we started slowly adding wood, first in one stoke hole, then another, then another. Matt and I slowly increased the stoking frequency and amount throughout the day. In the afternoon I took a break to visit Winterfest at the Baltimore Clayworks gallery. There was some great work in there, including Joy Tanner and Aaron Sober. Having just bought a cup from Joy’s Etsy shop, I indulged and left with an Aaron Sober cup, a Matt Hyleck cup and a Jim Dugan tea bowl. Wow, I better sell some pots soon to keep feeding this habit!
Back to the kiln, we pushed the fire farther into the fire box and increased stoking. When Matt and I returned from a food run to Whole Foods, we found that Louisa had joined us and was stoking away on the side ports. Having not eaten since breakfast, we quickly prepared the sausage and hot dogs and dug in while stoking away. The others joined us as the evening wore on.
At midnight, I crashed on a cot in one of the classrooms and got to nap for 5 hours while the others kept stoking. Just before sleeping, we fed the fire with several planks full of wood bark. I returned to the festivities to find us down two stokers, but closing in on the finish. Just at the end, we added 5 planks covered with salt (a tad over a pound total). A few more stokes and we closed her up and mudded up the peep holes. We were done in 20 hours.
With loading and stoking done, we now wait for the cooling. As is typical, I find myself asking why I do wood firing. Is it really worth all the work and long hours? Right now with 5 hours sleep in the last 36 hours and only two solid means in the last 48 hours, I question my sanity in doing this. Yet, my heart tells me that there will be come pots that are revealed on Wednesday that will keep me coming back to the method. Until then I will rest.