Tonight I loaded another electric bisque kiln. With some larger pieces to fit in, it’s always a little tougher to “pack it tight” like I love to do. And sadly, I didn’t have my usual “arsenal” of kiln filler to fill in all the holes!
Kiln Layer #1 – upside-down cake plates, mugs, cruets and ornaments.
Kiln Layer #2 – more upside-down cake plates, bowls, mugs and two tumblers.
Kiln Layer #3 – A short layer of ovals & ikebanas.
Kiln Layer #4 -Bowls, wall pocket vases, mugs, ikebanas, tumblers and an oval.
As I got closer to the top, I did have to do some creative stacking, or should I say “tumbling” to get a little more squeezed in. You know there’s always room for just a couple more… as long as the lid closes, right?!!!
Getting ready for the summer art fairs… and the kids’ flower pots are dry…
so it was time to load a bisque kiln tonight. That’s one of the beauties of terra cotta.
I can do a low-fire glaze firing which also serves as a bisque kiln for my stoneware pieces.
If all goes as planned, the kids’ flower pots will be fired, done and sent to the kids soon!
Kiln Layer #1 – kid’s flower pots, wall pocket vases and some tiles
Kiln Layer #2 – kids’ water drip trays, star ornaments and tiles.
Kiln Layer #3 – one more water drip tray, spoon rests, star ornaments and more tiles.
And yes, I noticed a small glaze issue on the water tray, so I touched it up a smidge!
And here’s my kind of kiln loading…
Kiln #4 – herb flower pots, spoon rests, mugs and a lot of little kiln filler! My favorite!!!
Another good layer, if I do say so myself…
Kiln Layer #5 – mugs, ovals, cruets and some small water drip dishes.
I always love when the kiln finishes up with everything pretty darn close to the top!
So close sometimes that I wonder if the lid is going to close all the way?! Luckily, it does.
So that’s another kiln loaded… and now it’s firing. And I still have a LOT more greenware
waiting to go in. Looks like I’m going to be loading another bisque kiln pretty soon?!
Here’s a sneak peek into my recent soda kiln. It’s always such fun surprise to unbrick
the door and see what’s waiting for you inside! So you take out the bricks one-by-one
revealing what’s inside layer by layer. When they’re all gone, the kiln is wide open…
and ready for some quick photos before packing it all up!
As I unloaded the kiln, most of the pieces go straight into crates & boxes so I can get them
home. Along the way this time, I stopped and took a few more photos than normal to share.
Nothing too professional, no graduated gray background… just some quick snapshots in
the empty spray booth with existing lighting! Like I said, nothing too professional…
Plus, something that photos can’t always show… both sides of some pots! Frequently, the
beauty of a pot is in the holding, touching & fondling. Being able to see the pot from all sides.
Noticing all of the details – both inside & out. So here’s one of my new stamped bowls…
both inside with temoku glaze, and outside with more stamping & flashing slip!
And another bowl… this time squared off with a very light layer of temoku glaze inside
along with some flashing slip on the outside.
And I love when you can see the direction of the flame as it passed the pot during the firing.
Where the slip is orange, the flames hit it and deposited some soda. Where the slip band
is still white, the soda couldn’t quite “hit it” as the flames could wrap around the bowl before
moving on & exiting the kiln. So on this bowl, you can see that the flame hit the left side,
and not so much on the right.
Plus, we also have a new Stoneware clay with Ochre in it at Lillstreet. The clay is darker than
regular stoneware and it fires to a dark chocolatey brown. This is the first “ochre” bowl I’ve
ever fired in the soda kiln. It’s a little more dramatic, a little darker… and the flashing slip
band around the foot ring has a great “directional” flash to it. Kinda likin’ it…
Unfortunately, after emptying the kiln, the work continues. It takes quite a while to scrape
and clean all of the kiln shelves, put on a new layer of kiln wash, clean the fire boxes, sweep
& mop the floor… let alone shlepping it all home at the end of the night! A long evening.
But a great reward to have a full kiln’s worth of pots ready for the Holiday Home Show!
I unloaded my soda kiln tonight and was thrilled with the results.
It’s always a fun “treasure hunt” as you uncover it layer by layer, shelf by shelf.
I got some great colors, a lot of fun flashings… and more importantly, no kiln splats
or chunks in any of my pieces. A very clean firing. I took some photos and hope to
have more time soon to post them! Sorry, you’ll have to wait…
The soda kiln was all ablaze with colors & flames as I was inserting the soda mixture into
the kiln. You gotta love playing with fire! I just turned the kiln off, and I’m always amazed
at the sudden silence. Just a warm, crackling glow. And a treasure trove to be unveiled &
unloaded Monday night!!!
Can’t wait… but I have to as it cools all day tomorrow and most of Monday!
So my handmade studio rolling cart made it safely down to the first floor kiln room.
The masking tape “safety belts” really did the trick again as we traveled down the rickety
freight elevator. Nothing jumped off the cart as we hit every bump along the way.
And then the loading began… an arduous task as I try to pack in everything I can!
The back stack of the kiln always seems to load a lot faster. Not only because it’s only
one shelf deep, but I think it’s also that there’s a lot of work to choose from. Later on,
your searching and hoping for that perfect sized piece to fit that precise spot.
I finally squeezed in pretty much everything I possibly could. It took hours!
It’s a delicate balancing act as you stack shelves and try to leave enough space so that the
soda vapors can travel through – versus packing it tight to get the most work you can into
the kiln to help justify the kiln & gas fees. So as you can see, I err on the side of packing it
tight. And I love have smaller pieces like ornaments & tiles that make the perfect kiln filler.
Very little of the white, kiln-washed shelf even show after I place hundreds of tiles in the kiln!
After housr of packing the kiln, you still need to bulid the dor brick-by-brick.
It’s very “old-school” but still a lot more fun than a new-fangled metal door!
So once I have it closed up, I turn it on low for maybe 15 minutes while I’m gathering my
things from my studio. As I’m ready to leave for the night, I turn off the kiln and close the
dmaper to try and hold in some heat. As I know that it’s just a few short hours until I’ll be
back to start the firing early tomorrow morning!
My bisque kiln from last night was still warmer than I would like.
So I decided to let to cool longer and dive into glazing some pieces from an earlier kiln!
I generally start by painting a lot of temoku glaze into all of the stamped impressions.
And then, once the glaze is dried, I take a moist sponge and wipe off the top surface
so that the temoku glaze stays inside the stamped impression – but not on the surface.
I love how the inlaid glaze really shows off the pattern of the stamp, instead of covering
& obliterating it with too much glaze!
But don’t think that they’re done. Oh no, I’ve got a lot of work to do on them first.
Liner glazes, sprayed accents, wadding, etc. So there’s still a lot to do… and even more
coming out of the bisque kiln tomorrow night. Not a lot of time to get everything done.
It’s my plan to load the soda kiln on Friday evening, and fire all day Saturday!
Well, the vases I made last night were still pretty damp today.
I went into the studio early this morning instead of biking in the rain.
I added some colored slip accents and started them drying slowly. When I came
back later this evening, I unwrapped them completely and started them drying…
with two fans blowing on them to speed it up a bit. Just before class, I decided it
was time to load them into the electric kiln. We turned it on a let it go for awhile
to warm it up… and hopefully dry it up a bit too. After class I set the program…
and they are currently being fired overnight. I hope nothing blows up?!
And now for tomorrow… all energy & focus switches to glazing & wadding!
I’ve got a LOT of pieces to get ready for my Friday night kiln loading.