Friday, December 4, 2009

C’est La Vie

So today, after fussing and fixing and smoothing and filing and adding bits here, there…getting it all just right, I loaded up the kiln – not a big batch, but still, a good amount of work-time invested. I remembered to set my cellphone to alarm. I fiddled with the pyrometer – I use an old simple kiln and its temperature gauge certainly doesn’t work – got it to read properly.

All well and good.

Couple hours later, the firing is done – can’t open straight up because I’m firing silver onto porcelain, so I have to let it cool slowly so the porcelain won’t crack.

5.20 – YAY! It’s cool enough to open – this is a good set of work – the ones I did ‘special’ with extra bits and 4 pieces that are ‘one-offs’, so I’m excited…some of these I’ll use to launch my Etsy shop next week…

Or not. Apparently my pyrometer is bust.

Here’s what I found

Okay, you can see all the lovely colours of my porcelain pieces, but you're not supposed to see so much of that; there's supposed to be silver on all those raised parts...don't even ask about the dark marks where the sterling wire just evaporated...or the lovely plain white vessels where flowers and swirls used to adorn...

So not only have I wasted about a day of work time again, I’ve used up all my ‘Silver Overlay Paste’ and made some nice shiny silver balls with it – guess I didn’t need to get that ‘Fine Silver Casting Grain’ for decorative silver balls after all. Delete that, these little shinies seem very well stuck onto the porcelain…hmm, design rethink I guess.

My lovely piece that was going to hold my hand cut, hand polished piece of St. Lucian Jasper/Agate, that took about 20g of Silver Clay, well, we’ll just have to start over there…when I can get some more clay.

And note to self; Add crucible and tongs to list of equipment needed – my stock of silver to be melted down and cast is growing. Add Delft Clay Casting kit to list too, and modelling wax…

And on top of it, I figure I’ll have to get a new Cone 8 Pyrometer – or see at least if anyone locally can fix AND test the one I have. Until that time, I am out of commission, back to stringing beads. Maybe it’s time to do some resin casting again.

Back in the day I’d’ve been crying by now; maybe it’s having grown up seeing countless glass and china favourites smash to smithereens on the hard tile floors of the family home, or maybe I have achieved an inner peace that allows me to accept the things I cannot change. Maybe both. Or maybe I’m just getting hardened to the cruel jokes of life in my old age.

Whatever, I don’t really think I’m getting hardened, no worries there, I am not totally serene either, but I know for sure that I prefer being at least this calm in the face of challenges; I think one of the biggest and most useful lessons that I’ve learnt in life is that disaster shrinks in scale when you can put it in its place and find ways to pick up the pieces and move on. Etsy, we’ll start you with some other pieces ok?

So, by all means commiserate with me – I’m not that serene that I can’t enjoy a good ‘Poor djab’ from anyone who feels like giving it! And likewise, now that I’ve asked for that, if you don’t pat me on my shoulder and say nice comforting things, I’ll probably feel a little bad for myself, so…

What do you do when disaster strikes? Calm or KRAYZEEE?

Have any stories to share?

Any encouragement for this calm but still hurtin’ soul?

Please share your thoughts!

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