Today she was overseeing PP putting the finishing touches to some little wooden trunks in her role as Quality Control Assistant. From what I could make out, this involves a lot of sniffing and a fair amount of extremely close CWN* supervision.
At the other end of the desk I was up to my wrists in tepid water, valiantly trying to get to the end of a marathon week of soft cleaning and I'm delighted to report that I FINALLY got it all finished..... YAYYYYY!!!
These three boxes represent the result of several weeks of casting and subsequent soft cleaning sessions.
The darker coloured castings are still damp from being immersed in water for the soft cleaning process, but soon dry out.
It's then time to load each individual piece carefully into the kiln, hoping that I've judged the amount of castings just right so that the kiln is filled to capacity so that it will fire to maximum efficiency.
I load heads and torsos on the bottom shelf, which is covered with a thin layer of kiln sand to prevent the pieces moving around and potentially coming into contact with each other. If this happens, they can stick together and be ruined. So each tiny casting has to be meticulously placed on the shelf with a gap between each one.
Bottom shelf - heads and torsos
In this firing I have a mix of castings in different porcelain tints.... some are flesh coloured and some are white. Different colours require subtly different firing temperatures so I place white castings on the middle shelf, and the remaining limbs on the top shelf.
It always gets a little nerve-wracking towards the end, wondering if I have enough space left.... this time I judged it perfectly (admittedly more by luck than judgement!) and I couldn't have fitted in another tiny arm or leg.
Top shelf -assorted arms and legs
I'll set the kiln to switch itself on automatically early tomorrow morning, so it should be finished by mid afternoon, having reached a top temperature of 1215 degrees Celsius.
So fingers crossed for a perfect firing.....
*CWN - Cold Wet Nose