I'm new to blogging so please bear with me as I find my way. I thought maybe I'd start by explaining or at least elaborating on the "woodlouse" title.
I like woodlice.
At a young age I was acquainted with the little bugs, they were a long time resident in the loo in the house I grew up in. They'd wonder around the floor, crawl up walls onto the ceiling, and occasionally drop to the floor unexpectedly if they lost their footing. They'd curl into a ball for protection if I poked them (an instantly endearing behaviour to me) and wave their legs around desperately in the air when a fall left them on their backs (I did used to put them back on their legs). The armoured bugs were also everywhere to be found under any old lump of wood I overturned in the garden.
More recently they seem to converge on the wood stacked ready to fire my kiln with. I have tried talking to the stacks of wood, imploring the many woodlice and other bugs who've misguidedly chosen a firewood pile as a good home to leave before it's too late. I even recommend them suitable "wildlife piles" of neglected rotting wood near by as alternative accommodation. Sadly though, I've yet to achieve human-crustacean communication and I can't escape a lingering sense of guilt for the untold legions of lovely woodlice who have probably died a fiery death in my kiln. My only hope is that many are knocked off the wood and make a successful bid for safety when armfuls of wood are dropped to the floor in front of the kiln prior to stoking.
My current kiln (soon to be decommissioned) has become known as the woodlouse as it has eaten far more wood than previous models. My next kiln will be a move back to the older models in terms of using as little wood as possible to get the maximum amount of effect on my pots (the ash from the burning wood lands on the pots and melts to a glaze at the same time as the flames react with the clay and bring out a range of earthy colours). Wood is a renewable fuel (if from properly managed genuinely sustainable sources) but I still think it's best to burn as little as possible.
A final woodlouse note:
Have a look at this fantastic website which appears to be a simple homage to the wood munching creatures - www.woodlouse.co.uk