It's the season for mudding around here . . . on the kiln, anyway! (OK, on our dirt road, too, but that car-bottom-scraping story is for another time and place.)
By some wonderful coincidence, an record-breaking stretch of warm (hot) weather has descended upon us in conjunction with Nathan's spring break from teaching pottery at Dartmouth. For us, this means two solid weeks of 10-hour days putting some of the 'finishing touches' on our kiln. We couldn't be happier!
Here's how this works: the dry materials- mainly sand, sawdust, cement, and a bit of other fireclays and grogs we had lying around- get measured by volume, and dumped into the cement mixer we borrowed from a friend. Water is slowly added until the mix is smooth-able but not too slump-prone (those are technical terms, by the way). Layer by layer we work our way around the kiln, troweling the adobe-like mix smooth. In and around ports, up the walls of both chambers we go . . . the purpose of this 'structural frosting' as I have come to call it, is multi-fold, but essentially it's designed to insulate the kiln a bit more (the sawdust eventually burns out creating air pockets) and hold the whole thing together (that is until it cracks from expansion, but that's another issue). It also unifies the kiln's chambers, and hopefully gives it an attractive final appearance! (We haven't decided on a final color, but will likely paint some sort of oxide on the adobe- pale yellow? white? earthy red? We'll have to see.)
I leave you with this shot of the completed-with-newly-refurbished-transom-window back wall of the kiln shed. Stay tuned for some photos of the finished surface in the coming weeks.
Enjoy the beautiful weather!