Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Where am I going in 2018?

It's a new year, it's wet and windy here and the ground is sodden.  I have spent 2017 plodding along at a glacial pace and now find I am struggling again cash wise and not quite sure how to proceed.

Work on the workshop went ok - I got a concrete floor down, but didn't build any other infrastructure, so it's not usable through the winter.  I put in an extra door though.



I also started on the new kiln - a ground hog kiln based on the one we used to fire at Nic Collins pottery in Devon.  It's a bit taller than that one but it'll step up inside so won't be as big as it looks.  Current progress is shown here:



It has some issues, mainly with the iron work and the concrete base.  I started the base on my own, before calling in a ready-mix concrete company.  What I should have done then is dug up the bit I'd already done, but I left it.  This means the front two upright beams meet a cross point where two bits of concrete meet (if that makes sense).  Also the iron work isn't straight.  It looks great, but needs fixing:






I also purchased straight bricks for the arch, with a view to cutting them myself.  Alas, I should have learned from the gas kiln, as this is a really horrible job.  And I don't have the £1100 to buy the proper arch bricks.  I also need more hard bricks for the floor, and kiln shelves.

Wood has also been an issue.  I've finally made contact with a forrester, through the forestry commission, but it'll be green larch or pine, which'll need six months to season at least.  I can't help but think that wood firing in the UK is going to die out soon.  With the government also looking at emissions from wood burning stoves, I wonder why I started out on this at all.

Anyway, the options now are to make some more soda pots, but I don't know where or how I'd sell them.  I have built the chimney up on the old gas/soda kiln and bought a fancy new sprayer, but whether I'll get anywhere with it I don't know:




The other option is go back to the IT world.  Good for money but not the soul.  I found working and making pots almost impossible to do, so that'd be the end of it.

So that's it.  It boils down to whether I dive forward, risk my savings and bankruptcy, or finally give up and go back to work.  Difficult.  Wonder where I'll be at the start of 2019.

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