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Qotw: The Power Grid Has Gone Down In Your Area A...

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This weeks Question of the week comes from glazenerd, where he asked:

 

The power grid has gone down in your area and will not be back up for one year: so what alternative firing method will you choose?

 

I started thinking about this as glazenerd thought it would be fun or funny. The deeper I thought.... . . . uhhhhh!  What would my alternative firing method be? To me that would be the least of my problems. How would I throw? I have an old Amaco motorized kick in the basement, but I really don't kick anymore at my age. I guess I would look into a good treadle wheel. Hmmm, could handbuild. . . nah, I am mostly a thrower. Then again, how about an extruder. Little shop can't handle a whole lot of equipment though. Firing? guess I could go up to Mansfield to the farm property and build a kiln of some sort, but then that is 2 1/2  hrs away. Nope, buy propane and build a small cone 6 kiln for firing, hmmm. . . where to put it, live in the middle of town! Hmmmm hope it never happens!

 

 

 

best,

Pres

pmeredith likes this

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I've been mostly "off-grid" for most of my ceramic life.  My first wood firing and wood kiln was summer 1969.  I've used gas fired kilns with venturi type burners (no power needed) and mostly wood fired work.  I bisque in gas... finish fire in wood. My noborigama here at my studio is 40 years old now.  The gas kiln is one year older.

 

I do use electric kilns for overglaze enamels though.  But if necessary... I'd build a simple updraft wood-fired muffle kiln to fire the enamels in.

 

I have 6 kickwheels in the studio (selling off 4 shortly.....don't do workshops here anymore).  One of them a wooden Japanese one (keeping that of course).   So throwing would be OK.

 

Have a river on my property... so some form of water power for some pottery aspects would come into play.  Land for gardening.  House heats with wood.  Have some solar.  Have some woodlot.  We'd do OK.

 

Are we going all dystopian here? ;)

 

best,

 

.....................john

Pres and pmeredith like this

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It would not affect my firing ceramics or production at all.

I have a natural gas 12kw generator that  auto kicks on when the power is out.

My wheels still work and my lights still come on.

I have 3 gas kilns (natural gas) so no issues at all on production or firing

I would not need an alternative method to continue making a living with clay.

Since I only use an electric for overflow bisque firing usually less than 8 firings a year it would not even be missed .

The only downside would be I have to hear the generator run 

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Wood and maybe a bicycle powered wheel

 

Joe, the local Fire Company has cowpat bingo to raise funds. The game moves stinkin' slow while waiting for the next number.

 

My highschool did this once. I think they ended up just rolling balls. 

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Ridiculously, I'd have no problems setting up a wood kiln in my urban backyard. They want to regulate natural gas self built kilns in the same category as the same equipment they use to extract bitumen from tar sands, with all the same engineering approvals required. But a wood kiln, as long as it's under a certain size, is apparantly in the same category as a fancy outdoor fireplace >.<.

terrim8 likes this

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I would switch to a low fire clay and try several methods of firing, trench, pit, Weber grill ect.  I have a wooded area nearby and horse manure to start firing with.  If I fail at those I could try converting my big Skutt to gas.    I already use a kick wheel and do handbuilding no electricity needed.    Denice

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Power out for a year--that definately portends dystopian horrors.  

 

There are serious luxury condo survival habitats built inside old missile silos buried in the desert, for use by billionaires should TSHTF.

 

Therefore, I would go on eHarmony and insist that my perfect match would own such a shelter and would, of course, install a complete ceramics studio.  Problem solved.

 

Alternatively, I'd invite myself over to John's place. 

JBaymore likes this

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I would paint for a little while. Really, my ability to make pottery is dependent on teaching classes and using electricity.

 

Getting a wood kiln is 10 year dream that might get fast tracked.

Getting a gas kiln up and running could be done in one summer. If I have internet access to order materials from.

 

Sigh. I am dependent on this modern life.

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I was in New Mexico at the Painted Desert Museum when the power went off last week.  We were leaving for Holcomb to stay at the WigWam Tee Pees, it was a half hour drive.  When we got there the whole town was out of power, and the concrete Tee Pees didn't have windows.  The electricity would go off and on, we managed to get some dinner before it went off again.  A little reminder of life off the grid,  I probably wouldn't get much potting done.  I would be moving someplace that had electricity or growing a bigger garden.  Denice

Roberta12 likes this

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I would probably build a wood kiln.  Lots of access to wood.  I would handbuild, unless I could get plans to build a treadle wheel.  And maybe a small propane kiln for some things.  Our house is passive solar, but we are thinking about panels for the shop.  Yes, when is this happening??  I better get moving on this project!

 

Roberta

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What I find interesting from this discussion so far is that the non-pottery consequences of unavailability of electric power  for the coming 365 days has not been considered. 

 

I can't make pots when there is no ice cream available at snack time.  And, while I do enjoy walking 2 miles to the store for an ice cream bar, I don't really want to tote  that bag of clay back to the studio because there is no power at the gas station to pump gas into the truck that I normally use to go get the clay and ice cream.  But wait a minute, I can't buy ice cream at the store when there is no power to keep it frozen or run the cash register to make change for by fiver.

 

Thus, I will sun bake my pots, just like I did when I was 4 years old.

 

LT

terrim8 likes this

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Being surrounded by trees, with several hundred acres more across the street: I would be wood firing. However, there is a natural coal seam down in the creek bottom, easy enough to get to. Then again my carbon footprint would become much larger. We have some high magnesium clay with a fair amount of lignite in it: perhaps primitives with a splash of modern.

 

Tom

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The better question: the grid goes down for a year and the battery on your cell phone is dead in 24 hours: now what?

Solar battery charger. . . don't you have one nerd?

 

 

best,

Pres

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