The suspense is kilning me

Cynthia makes a vow of organization

Home>studio practice, tools & supplies>The suspense is kilning me

Apologies for the pun. When it gets that bad, you know the glassist is kilnless.

Try saying “glassist is kilnless” five times, very fast. Probably not survivable.

Neither, according to my fevered brain, is not having a working kiln in the house. First time in more than 15 years and, naturally, the number of just-gotta-do-it-right-NOW projects has reached an all-time high.

Skooby-the-Skutt made his exit last weekend. Ollie is up for sale, and the TinyTwins aren’t in firing condition.
(shameless ad follows)

CERAMIC/ GLASS KILN FOR SALE, $2,300 or best offer

olympic-kiln

Never-fired Olympic 2827H Combo glass-ceramic-raku kiln. Cone 10, Bartlett glass controller, modified for use as a casting kiln but excellent for firing porcelain and raku.

Back-saving bell kiln design, 56amps, roomy 28″ dia x 27″ tall firing chamber. Selling for ~ half cost new brand new. Pick up in Portland, or arrange for crating/shipping.

Did I mention it’s never even been fired?

If you’re interested, fill out the form below and let me know; I’ll get back to you.

(we now return you to our regularly scheduled post)

There’s a new kiln on my block, or there will be soon. I ordered it from Denver Glass, after multiple (lengthy) conversations with fellow caster and company owner Holly. It’s coming with a bunch of bells and whistles, a nice Digitry controller that hooks up to my network, and the venting I need to prevent the rest of the garage from rusting out.

kilnspace

Space planning for the kiln. Controller on the wall at right, cutting a hole for venting above the kiln, right, and building in storage for kiln furniture on the left. When fully open, the new kiln will be 72 inches tall.

But it’s not here yet, so while I’m waiting I’ve been remodeling my whole studio setup. Mostly, that’s involved shoveling out the garage (AKA the “dirty” studio), and the laundry room (AKA the “clean” studio) with the great help of my friend Tami.

Along the way I’ve made some, well, life decisions about what kind of art I want to do, how I plan to sell work, and what kinds of stuff I really need.

I’m (hopefully) going to be much smarter about where to put things this time around. I spent a couple of weekends noting what was IN those huge piles of junk and why it kept on ending up there, figuring that if I wasn’t putting it in its allocated space there had to be a reason…right?

Sometimes the reason was that there simply wasn’t space allocated for it. I hadn’t planned on having so much work in progress, for example. Or storage for the boxes and packing material that you need every time someone has the good taste to invite your work to a show or (even better) purchase it.

I hadn’t thought about where I’d put extra glass components such as murrine and really cool cane and chunks and failed castings that might make fabulous pendants someday. Or waxes in progress. Or bulk purchases, such as the ten 25-lb containers of my favorite custom mold mix from Seattle Pottery Supply (they ship one tub or 20 for the same price, so it pays to buy a bunch).

New Studio Rule #239
No more building NEW glass storage cabinets when existing storage is filled. From now on, I will only buy as much glass as I’ve used up, to replace the empty spots on the shelves. Period. No exceptions.

The Angel of Fiscal Responsibility is weeping happy tears (assuming this rule sticks).

In other cases, there WAS space allocated, but storing the kilnshelves on the other side of the room from the kilns practically guarantees they’ll get propped against Skooby when I’m done with them. Or failing to label the 200-odd drawers in all those parts bins, and do you really think I’m gonna plow through them trying to remember which one has the rest of the #6 1.25″ flat-head wood screws?

I stashed the diamond bits in a drawer inside, in the clean studio, but I used them outside in the dirty studio, so naturally, they wound up in a pile on the coldworking table…under the tools. The tools are there because they’re supposed to be on the pegboard that I can’t actually REACH because I forgot I’m not 7-foot-3.

New Studio Rule #240
(from Shelby) If it CAN be on wheels, it WILL be on wheels.

That way, I can move carts out of the way and make room for other stuff as needed.

See the nice, clean workbench (a miracle all by itself)? The thing on top is a billet cabinet. The lower levels contain whole casting billet, all labeled (Bullseye, Uroboros and Gaffer, I'm an equal-opportunity caster). The upper levels contain frit and partial billet. ALL of it (ALL OF IT) is properly labeled.

See the nice, clean workbench (a miracle all by itself)? The thing on top is a billet cabinet. The lower levels contain whole casting billet, all labeled (Bullseye, Uroboros and Gaffer, I’m an equal-opportunity caster). The upper levels contain frit and partial billet. ALL of it (ALL OF IT) is properly labeled.

I’ve built a nice new billet cabinet on the workbench in the garage, next to the (empty) kiln(space). For the last six years I’ve been keeping billets in the inside studio, in a cupboard, which meant I wound up dragging them out to the garage and (mostly) forgetting to put the unused portions back. From now on they’ll be exactly six feet from the kiln, i.e., right where I’ll be needing them.

And then, sometimes, I simply need to be ruthless. Glassistry is expensive, and when you’ve been doing it as long as I have, you accumulate a LOT of what I call scrap-n-crap. It’s good stuff, too good to throw out but…

  • Do I really need 5,500 casting samples when I’ve lost the computer records telling me what they are?
  • Will I ever actually make a glass sculpture to fit on those two rusty iron African mask stands I picked up for a song at the junk yard?
  • Am I actually going to sit down one day, inspect and cut apart 67 pounds of saw trimmings to make pendants?
  • Did I ever figure out what I could do with that barrel of mystery glass a friend bought at a garage sale, sure I could do SOMETHING with it?
  • If I’m not going to do art shows any more (I’ll need whole ‘nother post for that one), do I really need booth display stuff?
Work in progress. Spent Saturday afternoon and most of the evening distilling ALL my glass components down to just three shelves. Hard to believe (and it won't stay this way for long)...but for the next six months I will know where EVERYTHING is!

Work in progress. Spent Saturday afternoon and most of the evening distilling ALL my glass components down to just three shelves. Hard to believe (and it won’t stay this way for long)…but for the next six months I will know where EVERYTHING is! (Scary, isn’t it?)

No? Out they go. If I can’t sell it, I’ll give it to someone. If I can’t give it away, I’ll recycle it. If I can’t recycle it..hello dumpster.

The electricians wiring up the new kiln also added new lights to the space, which means I can actually see the colors of all those billets in my fancy new cabinet. And because they can finally actually get under there to work, the garage door opener guys are coming next week to fix the busted garage doors and install a new opener.

With luck, not only will the new kiln have a great-looking new home, I will also be able to PUT THE CAR IN THE GARAGE, something that hasn’t been possible since 2004.

I’m making wonderful progress, but I’ve got more storage to build, more stuff to sell or donate or take to recycling, and a huge pile of stuff waiting to be hauled off to the dump.

Now if the kiln would only get here. Soon.

2015-02-25T07:32:13+00:00

One Comment

  1. fostersbeauties February 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    Exciting stuff happening in your garage/work space! Can’t wait to see what comes out of it.

Comments welcome! (thanks)

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