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Monday, 19 May 2014

Warning: Ceramics can kill

Hello everyone. I hope you had a good weekend. It was another working weekend for me. In fact, I had worked too long and too hard. 9 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. This morning, I work up at eight, had breakfast in the bed, and slept again. I woke up again at 12:30 when Mike came back for lunch. Otherwise I would have slept longer. Poor dogs were not fed nor walked neither. They must felt something was wrong; they had been very quiet.

I am taking it easy today. The kiln started at 2am, and has just finished firing. Inside there are several masks.

Their hair becomes fragile as they dry. Then it tends to crack away from the main parts. So in order to make dry all parts evenly, I cover the thin parts with pieces of cling film. I also put them on the kiln shelves, so that I won' need to handle them again.

Empress, Forest Boy and Forest Girl 

Duchess of Macaron and Forest Boy


In the afternoon, I was painting underglaze on the last of the masks. Then I wanted to check something with one of bisque-fired  figures on a shelf above the table where I was working. When I lifted it, its head fell off! I threw the underglaze pot in air to catch the head, but I couldn't. The head landed on the table intact. How strange? Then I realised that it landed on one of my drying masks, Forest Girl, and broke it. Gutted, but nothing I could do now. So I wiped the underglaze from the surface, and recycled the clay into a bowl. It could be much worse. It could have broken all three masks on the kiln shelf and/or it could have been broken as well.  

Forest Girl

I had more work to do. So I carried on. Then about after 30 minutes, I started having stomach ache, felt cold despite it was a warm day, had gum ache, which usually means cold sores, and then a tight chest. Am I having a mini-stroke? 

Forest Girl now

Here is the problem of starting a new career in the middle age, I thought. Stress could be too much for my body. Then I thought why I can't make something else like painting or printing. I wish I could make something which doesn't break easily. But good or bad, ceramics is my path. Trying not to sound religious, but it was a gift to me.

I told Mike if he finds me dead in the studio with broken pieces, he would know what killed me.

We loaded the kiln in the early evening. I forgot to take a photo of the top shelf this time. Unusually there are three shelves in it this time.

Lower shelf

Middle shelf

 I can open the kiln tomorrow morning. I hope there won't be any surprises.


  1. Accidents can be craze inducing. ( I stood up under a shelf one time and watched in horror as hundreds of dollars worth of work slid onto my cement floor!) I think every clay person I have ever known has at one time or another questioned their sanity at choosing to work in clay!
    Toes crossed for an excellent firing!

    1. Thank you, Suzi. Nice to hear that it is not only me! :D Watching sliding works must have been very painful! Thank you, the bisque-firing was successful. What a relief! : )

  2. An unexpected event like this which happens so quickly can definitely shake us. I am so sorry about Forest Girl, and hope you are feeling better now. Maybe Forest Girl can be reborn into an even more magical being?

    1. Thank you. I have rested very well and I'm back to normal. : ) Accidents do happen in ceramics. I was working against the clock, so it was a nasty surprise. Apparently I shouldn't have left work under shelves! That should be solved once my studio is built, as I have no more space in a current space. Thank you so much. I hope that comes to true. : )

  3. I am sorry to hear Forrest Girl broke ~ she needed to be wild and free of form at this time it seems .
    The last photo of the middle shelf is art work of it's own ! I love how the middle shelf pieces look all together with the beige hue to the photography ~ very interesting !
    Was glad to hear in the comment above that you are feeling better now Midori.

    1. Hello Willow. I guess it was a shock even though I carried on working afterwards, my body couldn't take it. Now I take a short break after 90 minutes' work to release tension built up. Thank you! : )