Adrienne Gradauer and Zach Quinn, the owners of Smiling Cow Studios in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan are building a new wood kiln – a Bourry Box! Zach came to Markus Boehm’s Workshop and left so excited. He has only been back a week and look at the progress. The pad, the first layer of cinder blocks and well, I will keep you posted on their progress. This kiln is so sweet. Hoping others will take advantage of Boehm’s environmentally friendly design: smokeless, uses only a half cord of wood (or less if you have hardwood). We got cone 14 flat in thirteen hours but, when we are not drying out the kiln, I believe it could be a little faster. She is a rocket! I would personally like to see if we can get the same results in 10. Stay tuned/
Meanwhile, if you are out there and hankering to help someone build their kiln and you are in the area of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Google Smiling Cow Studio, and chat with Adrienne or Zach about helping. And if you are in the area and looking for unique ceramics (or online), support this young couple. They are very deserving.
When you have a kiln building workshop, many things can happen. This firing has been ‘blessed’ as we have averted so many disasters. It was pouring for hours in South Osborne last Saturday (if it was Sunday, apologies as the days are beginning to run together) and we had only enough small drops to cool us off at the University. But, last night, it was the reverse. It poured and there was lightening. Still, things were ‘not so bad’. Then through a couple of heavy-duty miscommunications with the log provider and a hard drive that had crashed with supporting messages gone into the ether, we had to live with an assortment of logs instead of ones 1 metre long or 3 metres long. But, give it up to the group to just say ‘hey, things happen’. They all deserve several days at Thermae Spa here in the ‘peg. I wish I had free passes for them.
Ah, and there is something very different in pre-heating a kiln in Canada and one in the EU. Regulations require a propane torch with a thermocouple and a safety valve in the EU. In other words, you do not have to babysit the burner all night long. The folks over at Physical Plant looked – I think every department got involved from Plumbing to Heating trying to help me find a remedy. We do have safety valves on the new tanks but this is on the torch itself. I think when I go to the European Wood Fire Conference in LeBorne, France in August, I will pick one up for us. It would be so nice to skip one step. Still, there will be other security issues that might not allow a burner to be left unattended in a public building anyway.
Everyone was busy working on one thing or another today to make this firing on time. Tomorrow, the Director delivers pizza and Caesar Salad and, somehow, this evening I got a second wind and made lemon rosemary cupcakes. It will be hot so here’s hoping the icing will stand up. Speaking of standing up, everyone learned on day 1 to wear a hat in the sun. Did I? Today, 5 hours out there sent me home with one of those ‘you idiot you didn’t wear a hat, you had too much sun and got dehydrated sick feelings’. Tomorrow will be another day – with a hat. More photos of the action to come. Send us all your good wishes for the kiln firing as sweet as we think it will – and please send the rain somewhere it is needed, at least until late tomorrow night.