Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Sunday DIY

One of the brilliant things about going out with Daniel is I have access to someone who loves DIY. I'd like you all to meet Brian Clifford, Daniel's dad.
I haven't mentioned this but, about a month ago, I got an email asking if I'd like a kiln from a studio that was closing down. I'm pretty sure the email I sent back, came with teeth and bit off someone's hand. Yes, I'd like a kiln.
Then I went to see it. It was amazing! Wonderful! Wondrous! It worked and had lots of pieces intact and a brilliant technical guide. I formally asked to take the kiln. Then I went to see it again with my good pal Amy; she was taking a wheel and had a pick-up truck. I needed my trusty electrician to unwire it. When he did, Amy suggested her burly friends help me get it home.
One thing that struck me as they wrestled the three-part kiln into the flat-bed was that, in my head, I'd reduced the size of the kiln by about a third. It's an industrial monster. One that Daniel and I quickly had to deal with. We had to store it in two separate rooms. Taking anthropomorphism to the max, I began to worry that the sections would start to miss one another and begin to feel abandoned.
Originally the kiln lid was held up with a little metal arm so you can lean right in without fear of being squished. On one of the kilns adventures the arm got bent underneath and is all twisted, but of all the things that could have happened, it's not that big a deal. I'm sure I'll figure something out.
It didn't take long to decide the kiln needed to be outside. Never mind that firebrick isn't good for you, it was simply impossible to get it through some of the weirdly-sized Victorian doorways. To B&Q! For a shed!
Planning on building a shed or workshop? Here's my advice; do it with someone who knows what the hell they're doing. Brian worried about things I honestly wouldn't have thought of. He saw problems coming and figured out how to fix 'em. Daniel and I would have simply made a wonky shed and cried.
More advice; don't let your boyfriend 'protect' your hair with a shoe-cover and photograph it while you paint your shed. Painting it was difficult; some of the wood was oily and other bits were finickity and other bits were just plain dull. But we got it done.
Daniel and I have this new tradition of making a slow-cooked meal on a Sunday. Today was no different. The bouef bourguignon made the kitchen smell awesome, and meant we were all working towards finishing so we could have a cuppa and eat some wine-soaked stew. Stew makes hard labour fun!
Getting the kiln out of the house was tough; it's awkward to move because the handles rusted off and the firebricks aren't very sturdy. Somehow we did it. We put the kiln together on the shed 'floor' and then lifted - yes, lifted - the shed over the top of it and nailed it together. That wasn't at all nerve rattling.
And then it was done. This photo took about 20 minutes to take. I may be able to orchestrate the delivery of kilns, and sheds, and construct small structures... but take a photo using a timer? You're talking to the wrong girl.


  1. Splendid! That's excellent - well done all :-)

    1. Ta Paul! It was a real team effort, well chuffed.

  2. Excellent. 24 hour kiln access, what more could you want?

    1. What more, indeed! One more step to becoming a proper potter.