The Birth of Ruby – Kiln trouble
An FTL error message flashes on the display of my kiln at the end of an extraordinary long firing, confirming my growing certainty that the heating elements are burned out and require immediate replacement. Although I’ve been anticipating the elements to fail any day now and ordered replacement parts early, I’m still annoyed at having to deal with it right this minute, particularly because it will delay Ruby’s bisque firing.
After a day of procrastination and another 11 hours of cleaning she is finally smooth and perfect enough to fire to maturity, but that will have to wait. Normally I would use my alternate kiln in this situation, but that needs repairs as well. I don’t think I’m going to make that house warming party after all – both of my kilns need to be taken apart.
I walk over to the tool closet to get my Ohm meter and measure the resistance in the elements, then change my mind: there is no point – I already know the are quite toast.
When my work surface is set up, I open up the control box to disconnect the wires, change the element connectors and then stick my arms into the kiln to carefully pull out its burned, brittle insides and replace them with brand new ones. My arms sting from the skin irritation and scratches caused by the contact with the fire brick, but having done it many times, the operation itself no longer bothers me like it did the first time I had to take my kilns apart. I was rather scared and nervous of not being able to put them back together again.Â In fact, I was so frustrated with it, that I even briefly considered just getting a new kiln every time the elements wore down, just to avoid the replacement procedure once every few months. How silly of me. But I got the hang of it and now it doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
A wire slips and cuts my hand just above the wrist. This is the 4th time. I curse under my breath, unable to stop what I’m doing. It will have to wait a bit. Sadly, superficial injuries are a part of the process. A kiln is worse than an angry cat sometimes.
I’ve only recently become aware that almost every stage of my work, perhaps with the exception of bead embroidery, ends with applying a moisturizer to my hands. It’s not really that surprising, as creation is usually a messy, skin irritating process, but what’s weird is that I never noticed this habit until I began to verbalize and externalize my creative process in writing, and suddenly the pattern came to my attention.
Today is no different either, only this time I need someÂ Band-Aids as well.
Attention: Ruby is back on schedule now and will go up on the ebay auction November 25th.
This entry was posted on Thursday, November 18th, 2010 at 4:51 pm
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.