Edit: Okay, honestly, this is a really long response, I’m sorry about that! I’m just super wordy, :). It is no reflection of fussiness or whatever, I just fail on the brevity and conciseness front.
I understand your frustration, I have been there before myself waiting on my pieces to be fired. It can be maddening. I can’t speak for every glaze firing that has happened over the month, but on the one that I did recently, I tried to get every last item on the shelf tetris-ed in there. I looked at the bead rack and saw that it was both overloaded and that there was no provided cookie to fire it on. I skipped it and sent a note to Madison that we need to make up some firing trays as people weren’t making them themselves and try to get the racks worked through as we have a backlog. So the process has started on fixing this problem, we just aren’t through it yet.
As for the plated items, I looked at them, formed a personal opinion (as you have to do when loading a kiln with other people’s work that you really don’t want to screw up for them), and pushed my thought up the chain. It’s totally cool if someone disagrees. Didn’t check them earlier as there were other items currently ahead of them on the rack (overloaded, no cookie, etc.) There have been several bead rack rod failures lately (likely 50% weight related, 50% age related). I didn’t leave a note last week because I didn’t want to be the final call on them, I wanted it to be considered by more than one person.
In general, please, please don’t wait a month to ask questions! We are all volunteers working extra time to help others make their things. If more than a couple of firings have gone by (and we are currently doing many firings a week to try and keep up with holiday demand) and your piece hasn’t made it through, send up a flag. If your item requires something additional for firing, you can speed up the process by making it yourself instead of waiting for someone else to make it for you. This is what is likely the real culprit here in delayed firing, we need a new firing cookie for the rack. If the folks with rack items want to make up some cookies, that would help speed the process. Ideally, they need to be one piece, longer than the rack to keep maximum height for the rods plus prevent run off, and preferably rectangular to maximize adjacent space. A layer of kiln wash on top is excellent. It takes hardly any time, but again, part of the community process, we all contribute a little effort. Julie provides an awesome bead rack (thanks!), someone else makes a few trays (groovy!), a team loads/fires/unloads (sweet!), and it all gets done…just, eventually.
Help us help you, I promise that we want to fire your things at least 90% as much as you want us to fire them. Seriously, I vowed a blood oath to get the slipcast paper sack in the kiln after being a half inch short on the top shelf the previous firing.