The ashes were swept out, and after 6 cords of wood being burned, one would think there would be lots and lots of ashes. But, because of the extreme temperatures and because much of the ash ends up being swept through the kiln with the flames, it melts and forms glazes on the pots instead of collecting in the firebox.
Those who have been a part of this potter family for years all agreed. It was probably the best firing ever. Yes, there were a few "kisses" (where pots fall against each other and stick as the glaze melts) and a few things that cracked, but out of the probably 600 or more pots that the two kilns held, nearly all turned out well and many turned out spectacularly. It was a happy outcome for everyone.
Several years ago, there was a not-so-happy opening. Sometime during the course of the firing, a shelf within the kiln collapsed and tumbled into more shelves and pots that collapsed and fell forward. At the end of the firing, a look inside the 2400 degree glow told those who had tended the firing that all was not well. Cindy said the next few hours were like attending a wake.
Even though they knew there was a collapse inside, there was nothing they could do until a week later when the kiln had cooled. Despite the damage and destruction, there were also treasures within. One of Nils's pots had been among those that tumbled into the firebox, and it came out looking ancient and crusty and magnificent, as if it had been unearthed after being buried for centuries. Others also had unlikely surprises.
I'll post pictures in few minutes. Thanks for following the story!