Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Art of Firing

Here is my small  kiln in all its glory, red hot and raring to make my fragile clay into solid vessels. Bowls and mugs in this load.I bought this  small used kiln last year, and use it to fire my green ware, (i.e. unfired pottery ) Then it becomes hard enough to take a glaze at a much higher temperature. Those glazed pieces go into my Bigger kiln to fire at a higher temp, @ 2300 F.But the process is similar. You can see the glow of the temperature inside. It is firing as I write. In the front are the peepholes, with an open one in the top to vent both  heat and moisture. Measuring  about 20 inches tall by 20 inches wide on the inside space. It is lined with firebrick  all around the edges. 
I fire this to about 1900 degrees F. There is a little " cone" that   that sits on a rod which drops at the desired temp and turns off the kiln. The newer kilns are run by computers. Not this one. I control the firing, so I must take it up  in incremental degrees so the clay does not explode from rapid changes. Slow and easy is the best way to go. See those little knobs? I adjust them hourly to move up the temperature. It takes hours to fire this porcelain clay . 
Since it is now August, I get up Very early to start this baby and hope it finishes before the midday heat hits. I will wait until tomorrow to unload. No rude shocks permitted.Since my studio is smallish, it suits my needs to get the pieces fired as I make them. Easier to store and much less chance of breaking. So here's a little tale of firing my kiln, here in Sedona, Arizona