The Mission: to explore, create and inspire!

thePatientPotter is a blog that is designed to encourage and inspire fellow Potters and Entrepreneurs as it takes them through the challenges and triumphs of a 'potter on a mission'.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It Exploded! What do I do now?!?

Yesterday my kiln exploded, died, bit the dust, use whatever descriptive word you want, just make it catastrophic. I like exploded because that’s how it felt.

My kiln didn’t actually explode, but the devastation I saw upon opening the lid hit me like a ton of bricks. Like an explosion.

One of the greatest joys a potter can have is the opening of a kiln after a good fire. It’s like Christmas morning, only better.

Not this time.

This time my kiln wasn’t full of pretty pottery but was empty running a test fire. It was not firing properly and after months of troubleshooting, patching and installing new elements - several times, my kiln was finally running its first test fire. Woo Hoo!

The empty kiln, all patched up with shiny new parts, was going to be the revival of my studio. Coming back to life after 3 years in a coma state. It was going to start living again. I was going to start creating again. 3 years I have waited patiently.

Now what.

My kiln is dead. The automatic shut-off did not work. It way over-fired. It destroyed itself.

Kind of like me 3 years ago when I tore the tendons in both elbows creating pottery. Repeating a process over and over again without rest, until I broke.

I cried yesterday. Soul searching tears. Like a moth to a flame I kept walking back to the garage to take another look. It was true. Still dead. Writing this down today is helping me sort through the questions my mind is relentlessly asking.

Is this karma for not going to church yesterday? Is this a sign I should not go back into pottery? If so then why do I have such passion for it? Does it mean I need to go in another direction with my pottery? Do I save up and buy a new kiln? Do I try and repair this one? What does this mean? Where do I go from here????

Any suggestions?

Photo above by Michelle Rivera


  1. "The only real meaning something has is the meaning you give it." This is something I have heard many times during my trials and in the end I find it to be true - and rather comforting. This is tragic and I can feel your pain in this post. My two cents, for what they're worth, would be to give yourself some time before you try to figure anything out. A few days or weeks or even months out and it will all seem clearer. There is surely something here for you to learn and you will, when you are ready, be able to decide what that is and what happens next. You'll have all the answers. I am sending you a virtual hug!

  2. Few people are fortunate enough to find something in their life that they are as passionate about as you are with your pottery. Sounds like it's time for a new kiln. By the way, your pottery is beautiful!

  3. Allison, Love your quote. It reminds me of a quote I use to use all the time which had slipped my mind, 'this too shall pass'. You are right though, I am probably putting way too much thought into this. Thanks.

    Caveman, Thank you so much. New kiln? Maybe so.