I spend a lot of time envisioning how to lift this cumbersome, fragile dried piece of mud up, over the edge and down into this narrow channel of a kiln. One scenario I'd envisioned went something like this. I'd make a base of wood or angle iron under the throne, rigged to two slings looping underneath, going up and over the chair, coming together at a ring at the top. We would then rig a metal bar through this ring, and two of us would lift it up and over the side and down into the kiln. Unfortunately, I could not envision how we could take this metal rig out form under the chair in the narrow confines of the kiln. At least not without damaging something of the throne itself. Then there was the swinging and swaying issue and a third person would have to guide it down. It was quite a problem.
So I hesitated and waited for the "light bulb" moment of inspiration. I simply could not even consider moving it to another location where a larger kiln was available. Two hazards mitigated against such a move. First, just getting this down the flight of stairs, and into my van unscathed was doubtful. Then, I could not imagine how this fragile throne would ever survive a trip across the city on our winter and spring damaged, moguled and pot-holed city streets. These days our streets feel for all the world like we're traveling the prairies on red river carts! Nothing that fragile could survive this.
Finally one day as I was complaining about my situation to a "kiln savey" person at a clay supply store, I got my answer. He explained that these kilns can be taken apart. That there are the three sections stacked one atop the other, which can be removed right to the kiln floor for just this purpose, to make loading difficult and sensitive pieces much easier. I could not believe it. I had done all that worrying for nothing. But there was one problem. Our kiln was old and in the course of time the bottom two sections had been electrically fused together. Therefore only the top third could be removed. No problem, this was the answer.
All was ready. When my son arrived, my first task was talking him down as his breathing was irregular and he seemed to be perspiring quite a bit. We were like Olympic athletes, imagining and talking through every move in advance. Fortunately, it wasn't a race and so we could take our time.
Because of the many overlapping swords on the chair, I was concerned for existing air pockets and so spent the whole night and following day setting the temperature up very slowly. It was 8:30pm Thursday night when the two lower controls were at high and the top one still at medium that the kiln automatically shut off.
At 10am Saturday morning a fellow Clifton Studio artist and I opened the kiln to see that all was well with the throne. What a relief. We now worked together to remove the chair and simply followed the above procedure in reverse. Except, it was now a ceramic chair and no longer as fragile as before.