Fired With Enthusiasm


The firing process takes about 12 hours and sees the kiln temperature progressively rise to over 1200 degrees centigrade. Despite the length of the firing process it is not just a case of being able to set the timer and come back when it's done. It is essential to regularly monitor the kiln during firing as sharp increases and decreases in temperature can torpedo the whole process thereby wrecking weeks of work.

So, you'd think it would be in everyone's interest not to have the pot-meister being distracted when so much is at stake ...

The kiln firing at the Leach pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 1

Lordy, it's hot in there (Gas Mark 71, I think)!

The kiln firing at the Leach pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 2

The bung holes can be removed to allow Trevor to check on the pyro-thingy cones. They can also remove the hair, sight and face of anyone who gets too close!

The kiln firing at the Leach pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 3

When the bungs are removed you can see the escaping gases caused by the chemical reaction of the glazes.

The kiln firing at the Leach pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 4

Here's an artificially tweaked version.

Trevor Corser firing the kiln at the Leach pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 1

Like Casey Jones, Trevor toiled to keep the Cannonball Express a-steaming and a-rolling through the 11 hour(ish) firing period.

Trevor Corser firing the kiln at the Leach pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 2

Hamada always insisted that you got better results if you regularly honoured the kiln with the tea ceremony!

China Crisis!

It was around about the last third of the firing period when things began to go seriously prune-shaped.

Literally everyone else had swanned off leaving Trevor to man the entire pottery single-handed. At this point a visitor turned up whom Trevor had to give the usual spiel and then leave to his own devices while Trev legged it back to the kiln.

Hardly had he set foot back in the studio when a group from Canada turned up. So Trevor had to leg it back to the showroom, give them the spiel, let them into the museum, etc.

And these bods kept coming and going and coming and going and coming and going. They'd wander round the permanent expedition for a quarter of an hour or so then head back to the car park. And then come back again. They then wanted a second tour of the showroom, agonised for ages over what to buy and absolutely insisted on engaging Trevor in endless and generally pointless conversation.

When they finally went after nearly two hours of continuous Corser-baiting Trevor said a couple of things of some significance:-

1. "Right, that's it, I'm putting up the CLOSED sign so I can concentrate on what I'm actually supposed to be doing."

Closely followed by:-

2. "Oh ****, the kiln!"

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