Most potters will tell you that they look forward to the completion of a glaze firing with mixed emotions. I am no different. I typically am excited to see the outcome, some trepidation that my pieces may not come out as expected, resigned to the fact that some of them will likely not be "keepers", and general fear that something will have exploded damaging either my pieces or (worse), mine damaging someone else's!
Since I am a member of a local studio, I have my pieces fired by the staff and owners in their very large gas kiln. Over the last few months, I have been training to learn how to size the pieces properly, so that we can fit as many pieces as possible by being size efficient. I have also started helping with the loading process. This is a great opportunity for me as it exposes me to what it actually takes to load a kiln of this size and the effort taken to ensure that we minimize potential damage where we can (i.e. flagging pieces that were not glazed properly).
We just finished the current load. Somewhere in this very large stack of pottery are 30 pieces of mine. There are dog and cat food/water bowls, dog and cat treat jars, bowls, mugs, a couple of garlic jars, two or three planters, etc. Each piece represents yet another step in my ongoing learning process. Each piece will remain a point of anxiousness until the kiln is unloaded in a couple of days.
It is part of the process, you put your creations in the hands of the fire gods and hope for the best. Fingers crossed, a special prayer to Saint Spyridon (the patron saint of potters) and now...we wait.