Pottery is a teacher. There are many lessons to learn. It's a layering of knowledge. An art form that lacks instant gratification. Patience is key. Acceptance of failure is necessary. Non-attachment is needed. It is a discipline with infinite avenues. I can get lost in creation for hours. In sleepy moments, as I lay awake or as I am about to fall asleep, I am designing in my mind. These are a few of the reasons why I am drawn to it. 

I was startled by the scale of the Boulder Potters' Guild, variety of kilns, and inspired by the wall of work from visiting artists. Margaret Haydon took me there and after moving here she nudged me to sign up for a salt class. I had been living on an island frontier in the middle of the Pacific with limited resources. Our mutual friend, David Kuraoka, opened my eyes to the scope of a ceramic artists path. 

Don Cox and Brad Carhill instructed our 8 week class. It filled me with happiness to be attending the class and open studio sessions at the guild. For the most part I've worked alone. At the guild it is easy to feed off the creative energy that surrounds you. I quickly connected with Brad, we both have an affinity for seashells. Don shared his many years of experience with us weekly demonstrating new techniques on the wheel. I think everyone fell in love with his pup Walter. Meanwhile David, who is on Kaua'i, was texting me tips on how to glaze and asking me questions along the way. The hard part for me was not having a final vision, and the lack of understanding how salt works.

As you can see below, the salt kiln is quite large. Brad fit fully inside the kiln and it took 4 hours for us to load it. Each piece of pottery had little balls of wadding attached prior to placing them on the shelves. When the salt is added to the kiln, at a certain temperature, it vaporizes. It coats the pieces and acts as a glaze. Without the wadding work would be glazed to the shelves. The position of the pieces in the kiln is important. The luck of carbon trapping, kiss of the flame, blushing and flashing are all variables that are difficult to control. The kiln was well seasoned with layers of salt on the bricks from many prior firings. 

Kirsten checking the cones and watching the kiln

Glowing cones

Don Cox and Brad Carhill

Admiring the treasures

I believe it took over 24 hours to fire the kiln. For a few days we waited for it to cool down. The anticipation leading up to unloading a kiln is liken to Christmas morning. You bond with the people you create with and then share this experience of seeing all of your work, hundreds of pieces, at once. There were many treasures in the firing. Working at the guild and firing with salt was captivating. The guild offers a class next year and I will be waiting patiently to sign up for it. Until then hope you enjoy and stay tuned. 

xx, court

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