My blogging chum Michael Kline has just had a beautiful firing in Bakersville, North Carolina. I've lifted the following text from his blog because he explains so eloquently the way that I think any woodfirer feels when opening a kiln, certainly I can relate to his words. Nothing is ever what you expect it to be, it takes a while to grow into the new pots. Michael, I think your pots are amazing.
It's never what you think it will be, expectation is beauty and the beast. To have expectation or imagine what a glaze will look like or how it might become after a certain trial of fire is an acquired skill when glazing a pot, yet when the pot is revealed after the burn, the expectation can overwhelm and destroy the seeing of the true pot. I always joke that the pots get better every day they are out of the kiln, at least in my eyes. For someone seeing the pots for the first time, the pots are "free of imagination" in that person's eyes. I hope that makes sense. This concept will always intrigue me, although today it is a real bitch. Tomorrow the viewing will be better, I'll take another look and I will begin to see the pots.
What all this means is that I spent most of the afternoon kicking myself and replaying the firing in my head trying in some way to explain to myself why the pots looked the way they did. I could make a list and lay out some theories but as I have written about before, my creative involvement is over now, and that's the bitch. The pot's will be fine, and I will be fine. Acceptance is required now and that which isn't acceptable will be my motivation for change in the next group of pots.
I am reminded that "the kiln is the teacher".