I did it. I bit the bullet, took the bull by the horns, hitched up my big girl pants, and did it. (Not a pretty image there, is it?) I ordered a smaller kiln. This is a big deal. It’s not as if a kiln half as large as another of the same brand costs half as much. Nope. But it had become apparent to me that I needed to be able to turn work around more quickly. The time it took to make enough work to fill my Big Boy kiln was draining the energy of the process of make, discover and make some more. When I am working larger, making four larger pieces instead of sixty smaller ones to fill it, the big kiln will make more sense.
Much research and internal dialogue went along with the decision. Skutt kilns are reasonable, easy to use and available from my local ceramic supplier, Portland Pottery. I like the one I have but wondered if it made sense to look at another brand. I did but decided to stay with Skutt, a known quantity. Then I spent time on their website, looking at the seemingly endless sizes and configurations that they have. Staying with the smallest sizes, I debated between two.
Now here is where the Universe, once again, came to my aid. A week or so ago, I had emailed Bill Griffith, the education director at Arrowmont School of Crafts and a darn good potter, to ask about a small kiln that I had seen in his studio, to see if he liked it and could give some guidance. As it happened, I ended up in his SPAM folder and he didn’t see my note until yesterday. He responded and said that he liked his small kiln very much and would put me in contact with David Gamble, a representative for Skutt, to see what he could add. David wrote within an hour or so to tell me of his experience with his KM-818 and how much he liked it and that, indeed, Bill’s small kiln was a KM-818. Decision made.
I had decided to order the kiln today, Monday, and so was fretting a bit about which to choose. Then, out of the SPAM folder, came a voice and then two voices to tell me what to do. You’ve got to love it when that happens.
My dear husband encouraged me in this purchase (to be honest, he’ll be financing the purchase for awhile) because, as he said, “You’re getting to this clay thing pretty late, so you had better get going. If you need this, let’s do it.” While I don’t always appreciate the reference to age, he’s absolutely right. But more than that, he understands the importance of process. I realized that clay is a part of what I do in my artistic and professional life now. The process of working with a new material has been a wonderful learning experience, but it is not a pastime or a hobby. It is a part of my repertoire, if you will. I need to honor it and feed it and work it for all it’s worth.