Updated: Jun 26, 2022
The First Step Became a Huge Leap
Hello again, here with an update. So, yes, I planned to take baby steps. I hoped to learn from a local pottery class and acquire as much knowledge as possible. However, that was not on the cards for me. Try as I might, there were no actual pottery classes in my area. Everything near me said pottery class for children. The classes were paint and glaze bisque ware. Not really what I wanted. There was a potter about an hour from where I lived, but his style was not really what I was looking for, either, and my husband was uncomfortable with me driving that far alone.
I did begin to feel a little down. I finally decided that I could learn on my own through books and videos if the local pottery shops let me fire my pieces. However, they all said they could not risk it. Though I found much information regarding borrowing time from local kilns, my area was not as accommodating. So, of course, now I was depressed. Honestly, I did not know this was causing my gloom at the time. I just thought I was going through a dark spell. We all have them. Right? Well, I was feeling the rejection deeper than I expected.
One day, I was gloomily looking through my friend's and families' happy Facebook pages trying to cheer myself up. On a whim, I decided to check the marketplace. I did not expect anything, but I found a few kilns for sale around the $500 mark. I was not ready to drop any cash on a kiln, but I was happy to see them. At least someone was living their dream. Still, I was sad. I wanted to be one of them and, for my life, could not understand why a fellow potter would not rent space in their kiln once a month. My husband tried to explain it to me. He said a business probably could not risk their assets on a local, new artist. Though I understood, it did not hurt any less.
So, I began to save up. Since I knew I had no hope for time-sharing kilns, I had to buy my own. They are expensive. I knew I wanted an electric kiln 24/25 in size, and I was leaning toward a JenKiln. It looked like I would need to come up with about $2000. That is a pretty large amount for a housewife, so I knew it would be a while before getting one. I resorted to being happy building pottery and waiting to fire it. I began researching the stoneware I wanted to use and studying the different clays available instead. Something kept nagging me, though. So, I returned to the Facebook marketplace and found a kiln that was only $300, the exact amount I had already saved, but the kiln was old. I mean old. I was not sure I could sell my husband on it. I set up a day to see it anyway, but when the day came, I had cold feet. I sat in my room trying to ignore it, but I could not. So, I made my husband get up and drove him 20 minutes up the road.
We pulled up to an old ranch home decorated with Mickey Mouse everything. About six people were standing outside cleaning and packing. My husband got out first and introduced himself and told them we were there about a pottery kiln. The women were
sad souls but led us back to the garage anyway. Inside was a 24/25 Duncan kiln. It was clean, and it did not even have any oxidation on the outside. We peeked in, the bricks were bright pale yellow, wholly intact, and all coils were clean and neat. The cord was only three prongs, but that was an easy fix. They had the manual, the shelves, and all of the tools and stilts. My husband, who knows electronics looked over the manual and said it was simple. He could get it working. My heart did a little flutter. He then looked at them with the smirk he wears when he is trying to cut a deal and said, "this is a nice kiln; it's just old."
I am the very proud owner of a 30-year-old barely used kiln. Not many people would
agree with me when I say I found a gem, but I feel very blessed. I did get discouraged and wallow in self-pity for a bit, but I got up and tried again and succeeded. I am calling this a win.
On a side note, I named my Kiln Mrs. C. the name of a beautiful woman who started her pottery dream, moved to a new state, and never returned to it before she died. Her family that sold me the kiln was happy it was going to a home that would take care of it. They talked about how much their mother loved the pottery. Luckily, as I was packing the boxes with the kiln, I found a sweet Mickey Mouse figurine their mother made and
handed it to the daughter, bringing her to tears, and it made the situation feel like it went full circle. I am on a journey to live a dream I packed away years ago, and I am picking up where Mrs. C left off. I plan to make her proud.