Thursday, March 1, 2012

Abby Someone

I think that's what I'm going to name this kiln after all the work is done.  Abby Normal.  Young Frankenstein... priceless.   
The process of converting our huge Vulcan 417G kiln over to a 50 amp unit is coming along nicely... albeit slow but sure.  There are times when I can be a fairly impatient guy, but for this, I don't mind slow.  This is all new territory for me.  Last week I called the Vulcan factory and ordered four new 12 amp elements to replace the old ones in the bottom half of the kiln.  In the course of my conversation with Jeff Williams, the president of the company, I expressed my concern that once it has been changed over, with the top half removed, the kiln will only have two manual on/off switches to control the elements.  I felt like that would leave me with far too little control over the temperature and subtle adjustments that can be necessary during the course of the firing process... especially the first few hours when a slow rise in temperature is crucial to avoid thermal shock to the pottery.  I had discussed the potential conversion of the 417G with him on several occasions over the past few months, but I think this was the first time that he had considered that aspect of it, and the fact that it would only have the two simple switches.  He suggested a few options, including replacing the current setup with 3-way switches.  Mr. Williams said he would do a search for the appropriate switches and figure out the wiring for me.  I thought that was very nice of him.
He called yesterday and had good new for me.  He located some used switches at a very reasonable price (the new ones are fairly expensive, apparently) and he is in the process of figuring out the wiring for them, to swap out with the old ones.  So far I've been very impressed with the president of the Vulcan Kiln Company.  The process is moving forward!  Part of me is excited and anxious to get this whole thing going... but the other part is a little freaked, because when I put that first load of pots in the kiln and flip the switch, as far as I'm concerned, there is no turning back.  My fledgling career as a potter (or clay artist) has begun.  And from everything I've seen and read, it's going to bring with it a whole new world of learning and challenges, setbacks, victories and the joy that is found within the creative process... and probably a lot of stuff I don't even see on the radar.  I think I'm ready for that, but there's only one way to find out.


  1. How cool! So are you going to sell your pieces? I so want some. How exciting that were both embarking on new creative ventures!

  2. Well... that's the plan. Most of the pieces that I have posted here these past couple of months haven't been fired yet, so they still have a long road ahead of them; and there are a number of things that could detour my progress. But it will happen, I'm confident of that. Right now, I'm planning on having a good variety of pots done (mugs, bowls, plates, moonshine jugs, and other things) so that by mid summer I can open an Etsy site, and get my feet wet there. I am also hoping to sell at a couple of arts and craft fairs this fall. You look like you are already up and running with yours! They look great, Sara! really cute, and well made... which is important. I'm impressed with what you've accomplished so far. I think Jolee's Bowtique is going to do very well. Uncle Del may be asking for advise along the way! ;)