I unloaded my last firing for the summer yesterday. I loaded my kiln in June, it takes me at least six hours to fill it with over one hundred pieces. I was focused on platters and large bowls. When I make wide pieces, they take two kiln shelves which are 12″ by 24″, and then I put other pots around them. It takes a long time to put these in, as I have to level the shelves, and also try to get them to line up with each other so that the platters don’t warp. Sometimes they warp anyway. The larger the piece, the more difficult it is to make it come out right. Sometimes a bit of loose brick will fall on it, or a bit of glaze from a piece above it. So, I load carefully and slowly. The firing takes at least 24 hours, so I started the kiln on a Saturday night after work and finished it on Sunday which is my day off. The kiln gets fired to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. At several points during the firing, I deprive the gas fuel of oxygen. This is called reducing, and it changes the oxides in the glazes, changing copper from green to red, for instance. If I were using a stoneware clay, it would bring out brown spots in the clay that peek through the glaze. My next task for this summer is to try to tear down my kiln and rebuild it. I originally built it at my house in 1981, and it has lasted far longer than it should. I was a lot younger then, and the task didn’t seem as daunting as it seems now. But I’m going to do it with a little help from my friends and husband. So I don’t know when I’ll be able to fire again, but I hope sometime this fall.