There’s nothing like making pots in a hot tin shed in summer. Instant drying makes timing all those crucial steps, like slipping or applying a handle all a bit of a juggling act – lots of plastic wrapping and polystyrene boxes to keep work damp.

The heat does help speed up the drying process and meant I could make a kiln load in three weeks. I also made my clay body test beakers – the start of a long process swapping out my 10% and 25% mix clays as the two commercial clays I use are both no longer in production.

The kiln didn’t suffer too badly from the last firing, so its’ clean up went smoothly. The shelves took a fair amount of work as about half had a lot of shelf wash flaking – lots of chipping and rubbing to make them OK for this firing.

I had help from Fiona Jack and Charade (of course) for this firing, three stokers seems about the perfect number, no-one is overworked and there is always someone free to make the endless cups of tea. The results were great, the clay tests still need lots of work, the tweaks and small adjustments all were successful – part of the long continuous learning curve.

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