After several marathon soft cleaning sessions over the past few days, the kiln was finally packed to capacity yesterday afternoon and I've set it to fire to bisque this morning.
As it is quite a grey and dreary day here, I am looking forward to the heat gradually filtering through from the dining room, where my kiln currently lives. It's showing 789 degrees Celsius at the moment, and will have to climb to 1200 degrees, which will take probably another 5 hours.
When it's at the top temperature, the inside of the kiln glows white hot. My last kiln had a little viewing port, and when a bung was removed it was possible to look inside (from a reasonable distance otherwise your eyes might melt) and see the shimmering white heat, with ghostly heads and bodies glowing incandescent.
After it switches off, sometime this evening, I won't be able to open it for at least another 12 hours, and even then, only to prop the lid open, as the shelves will still be too hot to handle.
This firing is a bit nerve-wracking, because as well as the usual flesh-coloured pieces, I also have some brown flesh pieces, which are destined to become exotic Eastern princes. Brown porcelain is a lot more fussy about firing temperatures than white or flesh-coloured porcelain, but it still need to be fired to 1200, otherwise the slight underfire will leave little white spots on the 'skin' surface. I'm taking a risk by firing it along with the other stuff, but since there are only 10 sets of bodies and limbs in brown I couldn't justify a whole bisque firing for such a small number of pieces.
As a result of this cost-saving exercise I'll be on tenterhooks till tomorrow lunchtime when I'll finally be able to take out the top shelf and see how they've fared.
In other news, I'm at a bit of a loose end till tomorrow, when I'll be able to make a start on the first china paint session on the newly fired faces.
I need to decide on my 'plan of attack' for Friday's foray to the Kensington Dollshouse Festival. There are a few exhibitors who warrant an early visit as their best pieces sell out so quickly so they'll be first on my route. I'm shopping for a specific project, a Victorian day nursery, but I can't visit KDF and not buy a little something for my toy shop basement, which is still, sadly, in kit form.
However primarily I'm looking for some bits and pieces for the day nursery.....wallpaper, perhaps some 'period' features, in the form of a fireplace with flickering fire, ceiling rose, lighting etc. The nursery will serve duty as the setting for my book, so I don't want it to be too cluttered. I have a specific look in mind, developed over months of research on the interior decor of the more enlightened parents of the period. Of course, this 'look' will likely veer off at unexpected tangents once I actually get started, but that is part of the pleasure of miniaturing.
Anyway, back to my perusal of the list of exhibitors......I already have 24 'must visits' on my growing list, so I'll have to ration my time carefully to ensure I see everything I want to. This doesn't allow for running into past students/customers, chatting to exhibitors I know, and getting constantly distracted by the amazing range of craftsmanship on display at every turn.
How on earth will I get to see EVERYTHING in 6 hours.........?