I finally couldn't wait any longer and decided to load them into my kiln with a reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally long pre-heat cycle. Only to find that the bones had shrunk but not enough to fit into my kilns. Damn you, quarter of an inch!!!
Upon hearing of my dilemma, my lovely neighbors at the Washington Glass School generously offered their long, low kilns designed for firing glass. Thanks guys!
Bisque firing went well minus a few explosions from steam escaping the thick bones. Good thing I made 20 extra for unforeseen disasters!
I then unloaded the first load, layered them with a black copper oxide wash and reloaded them for their final firing.
Alas, I did not realize that glass kilns only go to about 1700 degrees. My porcelain clay needs to be fired to almost 2300 degrees. Oh dear! They came out of the kiln fragile, powdery and a really sickening orange where the oxide was in the recesses.
My dear, dear friend and talented ceramicist, Elizabeth Kendall, happened to have given me a ride to the studio and she VERY generously offered to fire them in her huge gas kiln in Virginia. So, we loaded up her tiny car with 5 layers of 72 huge clay bones and drove the hour and a half to her kiln. And she loaded them in 20 degree weather, like the amazing friend that she is!
She is firing them now as we speak, a three day process. Fingers crossed!
As an artist, we are all dependent on our community of fellow artists in many ways.
For that honest critique, that bit of technical advice, a cup of coffee on a cold afternoon, for showing up on a rainy night during your opening reception, for loaning you ( insert tool/art supply/paint/etc here) when you run out and need it right away, for that support when you need it the most...
FOR LOADING UP YOUR CAR WITH 72 BONES AND DITCHING ALL OF YOUR PLANS FOR THE DAY TO STAND IN A FREEZING COLD SHED AND LOAD UP YOUR KILN AND THEN FIRE IT IN TWO FEET OF SNOW!
I worship at your altar, Beth.
I am so lucky to have all of you- apparently it takes a village to fire a bone bridge!!