Friday, October 29, 2010

Excavation and Start of the Kiln

I'm a little behind with posting pictures of the kiln building, but here goes. Last Friday E. Christian and Son of Oxford came and dug out the kiln site. Joe Cole came in on Friday from Wisconsin to oversee building the kiln. Also on Friday I received very sad news of my uncle passing away. On Saturday I traveled to Mississippi to help with arrangements there. So as Joe arrived, I had to leave for 5 days. Thankfully Joe and Steven kept on track while I was away. Here are some photos of all the work they did while I was away.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


After much coordinating with fork lift rentals, truck drivers and brick salesmen it finally all came together today, we have a lot of brick. I am glad that this part is over with, too much time on the phone and shifting of schedules. I was very lucky that my husband, Steven, had the afternoon off to help get the bricks to the shed. I think he enjoyed it, he looks right comfortable on the fork lift.

This has been a very big week, another hurdle this week involved going before the town of Stem's city council to make sure the kiln did not offend any town zoning ordinances. I had checked with Granville county regarding the kiln when we purchased land, but it was not until I got the building permit for the kiln shed that I found out we are within the 0.9 square mile radius of downtown Stem (Surprise!). After finding this out everything got put on hold until the Oct. 18th council meeting. Being the studious type, I did lots of research and felt pretty prepared for the meeting except for not being able to get my hands on the town's ordinance book. This was a little annoying but I learned that they are in the process of making the ordinance book more available. It seems I am not the only one that would like to have easier access to it. Many town/county ordinance books are online at the municipal code corporation website, but not Stem's. I finally got to take a look at it immediately before the meeting and as I quickly read through it, I found nothing regarding zoning, smoke or anything related to kilns. After I spoke to the council about what my plans were for my property they had a few questions. I felt pretty good about my responses, but they still seemed a little unsure. Thankfully the whole discussion came to a quick end when the town attorney made it clear that Stem is not zoned at all (something they should think about in the future) and that I had a right to build whatever I want on my property at this time (if there are changes to the ordinances/zoning in the future I will be in the clear because I took action before any restrictions were in place). Yea, for good lawyers that point out the law especially when it is in my favor! If anyone is thinking about building a kiln and needs help with these types of questions I'd be happy to help. I talked to a lot of potters who never had to face this issue, so I had to figure a lot of this out on my own. I chose to ask permission instead of forgiveness, some would argue against this but now I can rest easy knowing I'm legal.

On the calendar for tomorrow is excavating for the kiln. Yea, more fun with large machinery! Then Friday evening a special guest will be rolling into town. Joe Cole is coming down from Wisconsin to help build the kiln he designed for me (see design here). Joe has been integral in getting my kiln plans off the ground from designing a kiln that will fit my needs to answering all the stupid little questions that I don't understand (How tall should the kiln shed be? Do I need a fork lift, a palate jack, loading dock or all of the above? Should sand cost $400?.....). I am so lucky that he will be here for several weeks to help put it all together. And a big thanks to Christy for loaning Joe out for so long, it is a big sacrifice and I really appreciate it. Sounds like she will be able to visit too for a little while, so we are looking forward to her arrival as well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Kiln Shed is Finished!

Yea! The kiln shed is now complete. We had a slight hold up on getting posts in (ten days), but they finally came in and the guys finished up everything today. It is a lot taller than I imagined but I think that will help keep it cool when next to the kiln. Also it needed to be taller on one end since I'm building a double chambered climbing kiln and want to use the natural slope of the hill for it. We will start excavating next week .