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kiln workshop/mel/long

updated thu 20 nov 97


Dannon Rhudy on wed 19 nov 97

Well, the kiln(s) are built. It was a good workshop, there were
a LOT of people there. Some helped, some watched, all ate, drank
coffee, had opinions and a good time. Of course, a cold front
blew through on the day (there was actually SNOW first thing in
the morning), but there was heat inside the building and a roof
over the kiln patio, and food. Jim Sydnor and the Gang of Four
from Denton brought an outdoor space heater. They also brought
some skillful hands, thoughtful minds, and a lot of energy. David
Hendley was there, with all his years of experience and
information and skill, too. He was calm. Told great stories.
Brought beautiful mugs. He was a pleasure to work with, patiently
noting things that otherwise might have been overlooked, seeing
to it that tiny errors did not accumulate into BIG ones. Doug
Gray was there, doing everything that needed doing, running
interference wherever necessary, climbing, erranding, bringing,
measuring, stacking, working, and in general being his quiet,
civil, southern, Kentucky self. Melanie came from Arkansas,
Jennifer all the way from Alpine, Tx.; Pete from Oklahoma City.

There were many helpful minds and hands, too many to thank
individually, but I am grateful to each and every one. Nils Lou
was there (in book form.) Constant reference was made to him, even
though I thought I had memorized all the important parts that
pertained to this smaller, non-car kiln. But I like pictures, had
copies of salient images, specs, braces, measurements, and two
copies of his book. Good thing, too; there were some odd moments,
then everyone would say "what does Nils say? Are you sure? What
page? Oh, ok, I see..."

Mel did yeoman duty. I've no doubt he could have built the kiln
quicker and more easily by himself. It is always a little more
difficult to do things by committee, as it were. But this was
a student workshop, and he calmly watched over, made corrections,
noted errors, forebore to mention clumsiness and lack of
foresight. (Part of this last is a lie; that is to say, I don't
think he was CALM. But he WAS quiet. Knows how to improvise,
is used to it. Did not lose his temper over the brick-until today.
Now - well, we'll see.)

There were problems with the brick; should not have been, since it
was new, but - will get that dealt with. Couldn't do anything
about it on the day, of course, except improvise.

Mel's throwing demo/studio workshop/story-telling extravaganza
on Monday night was to a fuller-than-full house; folks had to
stand on the work tables to see over the crowd. They were very
reluctant to leave. But all good things come to an end. Mel
is off and gone to Mata Ortiz with Kurt Wild; we should be hearing
about that soon.

As an end note, on Sunday we built a very small version of the
flat-top; it is about 6cf, downdraft, ^10, gas-assisted wood
firing. I fully expect it to be a gem; certainly it is perfect
to LOOK at. I'll fire it as soon as the plumbers get the
gas over close enough to hook in the burners, and let you know
how it goes.

Dannon Rhudy