Bourry Box Kiln Firing
Joy Bridy

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July 15-17, 2010: On July 15, moments after a walnut branch hanging over the chimney of the kiln was brought down by professional chainsawing hands, the fire box of this kiln was lit for the first time. After nearly a year of construction, I felt glee knowing that this was the beginning of the next stage of my life as a potter....this kiln had come to life.

From Thursday 11am to Sunday 1am, we stoked somewhere around 3 cords of hardwood sawmill cutoffs, split dry pine, stacked wood cut from the kiln shed site, and a bunch of construction scrap, 'round the clock. We drank over 10 gallons of ice water, and took down most of the cones. When I say We, I really mean We...I am indebted to the many generous and curious people who took the time to stop by and say hello, stoke the kiln, bring food, make us laugh, and take photographs to document this exciting experience. Phone calls and facebook posts, late night shifts and last-minute tasks all add up. My gratitude to you all.

On Saturday, July 24, we unloaded the kiln to many sighs of pleasureand amazement, plus the inevitable groans of lessons learned...as it should be. The glaze wares turned out quite lovely, which is one of the strengths of the bourry box style firebox. The shelves held up quite well, and most pieces needed very little work to be ready to sell. On the learning curve side, the kiln gained temperature a little on the fast side, which resulted in some bloating, some wacky shino surfaces, and the front of the kiln was a solid mass of wadding, pots and ash...definitely a lesson learned. Yet the overall feeling was overwhelmingly success, with an incredible number of wonderful pieces, many already sold as part of the Community Supported Kiln Share program last summer, and many on their way to shows in Washington DC and Shepherdstown WV.

Of course, the list for the next firing have already begun....let the exploration continue!