The beach firing went off wonderfully. We had great weather, good food, and some awesome pots.
In previous years, we’ve dug a big trench in the rocks and used that to do a pit firing. This year, there’s sign at the beach banning large fires, so we did two smaller firing in the ex-oil drum we used Monday night. The first firing, it was sitting directly on the rocks, so there wasn’t a whole lot of ventilation, and we got some great reduction happening. The top layer of pots was all smokey colours–some are almost purple–and the bottom had a lot of red. There was a lot of big, dramatic black patches, but I’d been hoping for brighter colours too. For the second firing, we propped up the drum to get some more airflow at the bottom. We got a lot less black and grey that time around, and a lot more reds and bright, sodium oranges.
While things were burning, there wasn’t a whole lot to do, so Heather and all us volunteers just vegged out on the beach for most of the day. I went up the trail towards Torbay, and got some blueberries. John Bear brought a cooler with his famous snow peas, fresh from the garden. Heather’s dad brought a sandwich tray. The family of one of the kids camp participants, who wanted to come down to the beach and see the big event, made everyone pancakes and bacon in the morning and hotdogs and greek salad in the evening. The beach fire, for all the effort that goes into it–clay mixing and volunteer pot-making started a month and a half ago–is really the best day of the year for the studio. There’s a lot of lugging and scrubbing before and after the firing, but in the hours in between, you get to hang out on the beach with a bunch of friends.
About the only thing that went wrong was that the second firing took so long to cool down, it didn’t get unloaded until right before sunset. We wound up packing up pottery and all our gear in the dark. (Until the wave of Saturday evening bonfire-makers turned up, and shined some flashlights around for us, which was great. Special thanks to the family with the party lights, who brought the most flashlights and even helped with scrubbing and packing the last of the pots.)
About ten minutes into the drive back to the studio, a wall of tired hit. Me, Lauren (the last student standing) and Heather dumped everything into the side storage room (commonly referred to as the Room of Death for all the mess that tends to accumulate there), and went home for soap and sleep.
I don’t know about the others, but I for one was so sooty by the end of the day that I turned the bathwater grey, and then had to have a quick shower to rinse off the bathwater. And then I slept until almost noon.
I took to many pictures to really fit them into a post, but you can find them here.