Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why I don't load a kiln by myself

Using a wheelchair for the past 18 years as a spinal cord injured, now 39 year old, prevents me from loading the kilns at the studio as there are no front load electric kilns. As a student, it worked well because students do not load kilns.

But now as a studio artist, I am responsible for my own kiln loading and unloading. I am smack up against needing help to accomplish my goal.

Luckily I work at studio where they are committed to ensuring I can work as independently as possible. And they are looking to bring in a front loader electric kiln! and accessible pottery wheel- that's right I have never been on the wheel.

From what I can tell, a lot of pottery can include a lot of work that is quite wheelchair unfriendly. Not impossible, but challenging. Heavy clay. Physical. Rough settings. I am not interesting in that. My daily challenges are enough. I am constantly requested to be flexible, creative, innovative in my daily life to do life's basic necessities- go to the bathroom, get into a room or house, establishment. I do not want to explore it when loading the kiln.

So instead rigging some solution for loading, I get help.

Part of me does not like it. Depending like this. Arranging with someone else's schedule. Not being able to run in and see the newly fired pieces when I want to...having to wait for help. So much organizing and arranging. Feels like loss of choice.

The other day I was suddenly yearning for a pit firing. Most of my work right now is pinched - a primitive method of producing vessels, and so it seems natural to explore pit firings-a primitive firing method. And then I realized I could do it by myself. My work is small- fits in a the hand. So I could easily place sawdust, oxides, other stuff, wood and such into a pit or oil drum....I was practically salivating at the thought. complete control from soup to nuts. So I am going to do it. Maybe what I pursue and explore are a lot of pit firings ....

1 comment:

Ron said...

Hey Elaine, nice to find you are blogging. I'll be checking in often. Ron Philbeck