From Gentle Sobs to Cheers of Victory!

Dear friends and voyeuristic enemies, this post is going to be more personal than usual, because I have finally found something dearer and more elusive than a soul mate- an electrician!  Back in March I “invested” in an exciting new piece of equipment, a large Paragon burnout kiln. With this came the high hopes of being able to immediately cast spring flower buds, but predictably there were a series of bafoonish obstacles before I was even able to turn the kiln on.

First, I was not able to lift the kiln out of its crate because it weighs nearly 200 pounds. I should have expected this, but had some fantasies about leveraging fulcrums that never came to fruition.  This glitch in independence bruised my ego, but eventually I sheepishly asked my Amish neighbor and his son to help me lift it in exchange for helping them find an obscure type of metal lathe on the internet.  They barely mocked me at all as the son effortlessly lifted the kiln up onto my make-shift table, something I had cobbled together from part of an old metal patio table-tob and some heavy duty saw horses. Before I took them home, the old man had done everything short of plug it in, even began reading the manual aloud after we set it up, which got us all laughing pretty hard.  I was positively bursting at the seams to FINALLY turn on the kiln for the first time after letting it sit in the box for so long. But I could not even plug it in!!! One of the tines on the plug was flipped to the side. After relatively little primal screaming, I called the kiln people and notified them that they had sent a bum unit. It couldn’t be plugged in! I sobbed softly as the technician gently broke the news that I probably didn’t have enough volts to run said-kiln.  And so began the lengthy process of finding an electrician. I called 26 people before finding someone who could come out and do the job.  Electricians are the Barbara Streisands of the fix-it world.  I only hope my crazed-desperation did not influence the ticket price.  He had to bring excavation equipment to dig a new line to the the casting lab. It was a huge production.

Fast-forward to the present day. The Paragon kiln is plugged in, I’ve been re-learning the idiosyncrasies of casting, busily converting a space that clearly fancies itself a garage into a proper casting lab.  Stay tuned for photos of the sexy flower jewels I will be debuting at Renegade Chicago September 19-20th! So far 20 orchid guts have been cast in magnificent detail.  Needless to say all of the hassles and expense that have lead up to this glorious moment of casting on-site have made me that much more excited to finally fire up the kiln.

Burning out orchid parts to cast.

Burning out orchid parts to cast.

Orchid castings

silver orchid castings from phalaenopsis flowers

silver orchid castings from phalaenopsis flowers

Orchid Ring by Peggy Skemp 2008

Orchid Ring by Peggy Skemp 2008

Silver orchid ring by Peggy Skemp 2008.

Silver orchid ring by Peggy Skemp 2008.

This entry was published on August 31, 2015 at 11:13 am. It’s filed under New Photos, Work in Progress and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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