Friday, August 17, 2007

A Sparrow Farts in Arkansas


Yesterday and today we fired our train kiln. I have posted a picture of our kiln at full tilt boogie with the firebox full of wood and Sheila side stoking the back of the kiln. Look at the stack!!! Not a wisp of smoke to be seen. Precisely, why every ceramics program considering a wood fired kiln ought to consider a train.
AT USU the kiln yard is right smack dab in the middle of administrative offices, the Art Dept, the Computer Center and it is privy to the inspection of many a passerby. The air intake for all these buildings is right near the kiln yard. The Ceramics programme at USU is a bit of niche program that is world renowned for it's wood firing expertise. Where there is smoke there is fire! John Neely is a hawk whne it comes to being able to see and smell smoke. The students at USU are taught to fire wood kilns clean. The worst shift a student can draw on a wood firing shift is early morning between 6:45 and 7:45 when John arrives for work. There is no margin for error. If there is no smoke, you'll get the thumbs up. If there is smoke you will be shown what you should already know.
I told the students that if a sparrow farts somewhere in Arkansas John can smell it. Don't think cause he's sleeping or not there that he doesn't know about the smokin' kiln. The program he worked so hard to create hinges on responsible firings..............period.
I can't imagine how proud he is to park his car across from the Art Dept, walk down the alley way to see the lights on in the indoor kiln room, music playing in the studio and the smell of heat not smoke in the kiln yard.
One day the Provost and VP were to be given a tour by John. David Secrest guest metal sculptor was beating the crap outta a piece of metal along with about 15 students, I was on one wood splitter, Danny on another, Trevor was chainsawing and the whole damn place was a hubbub of work activity. The Provost and VP were dressed to the nines and nodded to me as they paraded by. I think they thought I was too old to be a student so I must be a ex-con doing community service. None the less, I think they couldn't help but be impressed that here was a place where work gets done. Energy!!!!! Human energy-physical and creative energy.

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