When it Rains, It Pours…

by runningwaterpottery3533

   Lately you’ve noticed that I’ve been commenting on how the recent rains have been slowing me down; the pots just aren’t drying the way I’d like. I made a dumb mistake yesterday and tried to rush things along. Around 3:00 p.m. I loaded the first of the 1 1/2 gallon ollas into the kiln. I could have loaded at 8:00 a.m. but I gave them a few more hours to dry (in my mind). They sat in front of that fan all of one night and then next to the kiln while the last of the one gallons were fired so they felt nice and toasty. The way I check for wetness is to hold a pot against my bare forearm. It will usually feel cool or cold, initially. If the coolness fades pretty quick, you’re good to fire. If the coolness remains consistent, then you need more drying time.

   Well, since they were dried in front of a fan and beside the kiln, I figured I was good to go. The firing started at 3:00 and I heard a noise at 4:00. I just assumed it came from the theater department down the hall. They’re getting ready to head up to the Spencer Theater at Ruidoso, NM and do a show and have been making all kinds of noise, building props, etc. The second ‘noise’ came about 5 minutes later and I knew it was me, not the theater guys, so I ran over and shut off the kiln and took a peek.

   I only lost one olla but I knew better than to try and force them dry. I’m reminded of that old TV commercial where they’re selling, I think, Imperial Margarine, and the spokes lady, wearing her crown, says, to the tune of thunder and lightning, “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature!”.

   So, when you heat water, you make steam. Steam expands and blows up pots. I violated the laws of Physics! This one, I can’t blame on the rain. Back to the potter’s wheel to make replacements and spares. You would think I’d know better after making pots since 1984…