Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Three Years in the Making...

Today was day two of the never ending tile project at my son's elementary school. (sigh) This is the third year that we've tried to finish one wall of hand tiles for the kids. The first year the school had hired an outside shop to do the project. Unfortunately after many a day when the gal that ran the ceramic place showed up late, she closed her business. That left us with unfinished tiles. Then we hired a guy to install the ones we had, he charged us a pretty penny then when asked about coming back he no showed...! Later the following year our school PTA came apart so from December to June we had no group at all! Some where in there the school acquired a kiln.
starting to load
In collaboration with one of our fabulous fifth grade teachers, who offered to teach me how to use it, I offered to fire all the tiles myself. Early this year we sold 102 hand tiles to finish the wall and printed up red, orange, black, and grey hands! What I didn't realize at the time was that my involvement with another group, our site council, would mess up the time I had to fire the tiles!  This year  was my second year on our council and, low and behold, there was extra money to be had! (unheard of at schools) As a group we voted to use it to further our art program and elected two of our artsy teachers to do a ceramics class with the entire school! Well, guess what went in the kiln? (this was starting to feel like a Shakespearean comedy of errors at this point) The week after school let out in June I finally got a load of the tiles into the kiln. But only 60 of the 102. The other 42 waited until the first week of this year, or so I thought. Happily I loaded the kiln once we went back to school and it didn't fire correctly. What now you ask? (you can't make this stuff up) There were black widow spiders in the 220 outlet disrupting the electricity! When and how does this happen? And to add insult to injury the room we use for storing all our ceramic supplies was completely infested with the spiders too! Yuck! It took several days but after the electrician came out to clean the outlet, the exterminator sprayed our storage room (a lovely pesticide mint scent) we tried again! And it worked! Yay!
it's really a giant jigsaw puzzle
So, if you're still with me you're thinking, finally, she's about finished. Oh no, no so fast! One more turn as the weather here went into the triple digits. With no real "man" (is there such a thing?) for the install my bevy of women helpers weren't keen on climbing ladders and making mud pies in the heat. So, once more we put it off another week. That week was up day before yesterday! We did it, well, most of it. Once we installed everything we had fired we realized that we (read I) counted incorrectly or we were punch drunk or who knows...but we needed more tiles! This afternoon I fired another 28 of those buggers and next Tuesday it will be finished or I'll be jumping from the top of the 16 foot ladder! Please wish me no kiln explosions, no more spiders or other wildlife and no injuries until after next Tuesday!! 
The moral of the story is never volunteer for anything unless you are sure you can be flexible no matter what the situation, keep a sense of humor because there is truly something comical about everything, and make sure you can stay the course! (no matter how long it takes!)
Stay tuned for pictures of the "completed" project!
Until next time,

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