Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I fired off the wood kiln yesterday, it seemed to go well. I try to fire to cone 9 with ten just bending, I was able to achieve that throughout except for ten flat on the bottom back side. I tried to extend this firing a bit and ended up right at 9 hours, it amazes me how fast this kiln wants to go. We had some major wind gusts the last few days averaging around 30mph. I had my concerns but figured that I'd be ok since the kiln was for the most part sheltered. The wind blowing across the top of the chimney can affect the draft of the kiln making it pull stronger. We had one gust around noon that lasted for a good 5 minutes. I had 03 falling throughout and freaked out when I saw 01 and 1 fall and 3 start bending on the bottom in a matter of minutes. I was able to even it out but it was a little stressful for a minute.

I had a class from one of the other universities out visiting the firing in the morning and my advanced class out in the afternoon. This is the first time I've ever had visitors and I must say that I prefer to be alone while firing. It is very easy to get distracted and lose focus when there are a lot of people around. I had a guy come out in the afternoon to do a little filming. I have to have this short little video produced for the gallery that I'll be showing at in may. He tried to do some interviewing but it didn't go too well considering the constant attention the kiln demands. He has some other things to film so maybe we can redo some of the talking stuff.

The night after I finished loading I laid awake in bed for a long time stressing about what was in the kiln(this is typical of the type of thing that stresses me out.) My slipped work looks best at cone 9 while my ash glaze likes a strong cone 10. The middle of the kiln always fires a little hotter so that is where I stack the glazed work. This load was about half slippped/half glazed so after loading I was having a bunch of "what were you thinking?" moments. Why would you put those together in the kiln? Should I fire to cone 10 and let the slip look muddy but have good glaze melt? Or should I fire to cone 9 and have underfired glazes? I opted for the latter knowing that I can always refire the glazed work if need be. I'm sure there are some that will turn out nice but I'm 99% certain there are many pieces that are going to be that bland, matte, underfired surface. My decision is from now on to alternate firings. I will fire slipped work in its own firing and I will fire glazed work in its own firing so that I can give both the proper atmosphere and temp that they require. In this firing I soaked at cone 9 for almost an hour in hopes that it would assist in the glaze melt, so I guess we'll see.

Enough blither for now. I'll be unlaoding wednesday am. (I sealed the kiln up super tight and am letting it cool for 48 hours, remember the slip cracking thing?)



Dan Finnegan said...

Just read your blog for inspiration. I'm lighting up in the AM for an 18 hour marathon. Lots of raw pots...two chambers... a couple of friends.
Slow cooling is a good idea. Looking forward to seeing what you get.

Linda Starr said...

Oh, I hate second guessing and I do it all the time to myself. Why did I glaze that pot that way, why didn't I add this to that piece. Can't wait to see what comes out of your firing.

brandon phillips said...

well, i don't know how inspiring that post was but thank you. i hope it goes well for you. we may have to have a contest and see who is the slower kiln loader.

Joe and Christy said...

Glad to hear the firing went well. I imagine your glazes will come out well. I fired a tube kiln in NC and really like some of the pots with the 442 glaze that came out of the back of the kiln. Not the same glassy sheen, more of a "jade" finish. Anyways hope it all comes out to your liking.