Notes: Based on the simple little test kiln designed by Karatsu Pots (original blog post here), I made this little test kiln to begin testing some reduction firing techniques. The fire bricks I had on hand are battered and bruised so there's a fair amount of heat leaking. Future upgrades should improve on this although first firings have been promising. Propane fired and running for about 4hrs the first pieces reached vitrification at thin sections, however the thicker sectioned haven't matured.
The Lewis Glucksman Gallery is a stunning building on the grounds of University College Cork - if you haven't been before make sure to check it out if you're in the area. There's a consistent run of beautifully curated shows throughout the year. For one weekend, they clear the galleries and allow designers and craftspeople to set up for the Glucksman Craft & Design Fair. The building, designed by O'Donnell + Tuomey, is beautiful and, if I remember my tour correctly from Open House many moons ago, harvests geothermal energy from an underground stream that ran across the site. It's a lovely, calm space to commune - shout-outs due to the staff there - as disorganised as I was there was always someone about to help - we made it! In one piece too!
Craft fairs are a big thing, especially around Christmas, for makers and craftspeople. It's a chance to move products and a good opportunity for people to meet the men and women making decorative things locally. It got mad for me at points, but there was a great calm atmosphere about the fair in the Glucksman this year - and the other makers I met were a really interesting bunch making really interesting things.
Unfortunately, fairs can be expensive for makers (The 5 day long National Craft Fair - recently renamed 'Gifted' - costs standholders somewhere towards €200/day) and become hectic if sales are needed. The best bits of what a craft fair is, the people, can get lost behind the event. Luckily there are a couple of fairs that manage to keep the mayhem to a minimum and open a marketplace for people to engage with craftspeople, designers and artists - the Glucksman is one of these, and I'm really happy to say that the Hands collection of table lamps are now stocked in the Glucksman gift shop.
Thanks to all involved - especially my helpers; Laura and Iana for your time and energy!