I feel like I’m almost done working on my applications for graduate school. I’ve just got to make a few phone calls about transcripts and send off my application packets today, but I can see the light through the trees!
I use that metaphor instead of a tunnel because my ceramic work obsesses over trees, and I think back to walking through the dense eastern forests and the Appalachian trail. In a lot of places, the oak or white pine trees were so dense that it was dark below, like at dusk. Sometimes I would wonder what the weather was like above, but I had to wait to reach a clearing before I could see the sky.
As I start to think about where I might get into graduate school, I am also excited about what I will be able to research there. I really want to get my hands back into salt and soda firing. If I was a younger student people might laugh at me and tell me how soda firing is a weird trend that started in the 70’s and I should do wood firing instead. I fired most of my work in a salt or soda kiln during undergrad for a couple of years or so. I remember in 2012 when we had Bede Clarke come for a workshop, I was asked to be in charge of firing the salt kiln because I was experienced. Even though I had a little less experience doing soda firing, there was an emergency for the guy in charge of firing the soda kiln and he asked me to take over and to put the kiln into body reduction. I was happy to, and when he came back, he was impressed at how well I could reduce a leaky kiln. Anyway, I really want to get back into it because I love how it looks, and also how hands-on the firing method is. I miss firing kilns manually. There is something too comfortable about programming a glaze firing in an electric kiln, and it kind of makes me lose touch with the firing process. Here’s a photo of one of the pieces from that soda firing that I overtook: