My life for the last month has been pretty unmanageable. Firing student clay projects has taken over. I dream about loading and running the kiln the same night I dream I have a new baby to care for. Pretty much sums it up. Dealing with a kiln is as time-consuming, demanding, irrational, draining, and occasionally cute-as-a button, as a new baby. A new baby with colic.
My first son was a colicky baby, and I survived. I was crazy as can be for the first year of his life, though.
The kiln has cute moments. It looks like a cross between your great grandma's washing machine down in the cellar and R2D2.
The Online Etymology Dictionary and the Free Dictionary give me some insight into kilnosis, my current mental state:
Stir-crazy 1908, from stir "prison" (1851), probably from Start Newgate (1757), prison in London. stir-cra·zy (stûrkrz) adj. Informal
Distraught or restless from long confinement in or as if in prison.
Cabin fever n. Boredom, restlessness, or irritability that results from a lack of environmental stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparsely populated region or a confined indoor area.
I've been diagnosed with Kiln Captivity Disorder aka firing fever. This syndrome was first isolated among orangutans in zoos who created fabulous bowls and vases out of stuff they found on the floor of their cages. Ick. Zoos are improving all the time, and most orangutans get to go to the arts and crafts center twice a week nowadays.
Feels like I have spent the last month loading clay projects into the kiln, running the kiln (firing), unloading the kiln, reloading the kiln for the next batch. Now we are doing the second firing to glaze the clay. Glazing is the high wire circus act for an art teacher. The pieces must be placed into the kiln so that they don't touch each other, and they must be precariously balanced on goofy spiked tripod supports. After that, you just have to say your prayers and hope for the best. Burning incense and sacrificing a virgin or two might be good moves.
No wonder I'm considering going into a different line of work. Did I mention I teach preschoolers to roll clay coils by pretending to be a really bad lounge singer? And isn't this wire sculpture by Steve Lohman great?