April 29, 2009

It's getting hot in the studio

I just fired up the glaze kiln...three shelves worth of tiny bowls, mugs, planters and garden stakes. This time I've added more herbs to the mix - cilantro, sage, chives, thyme and maybe something else that slips my mind at the moment. The S&P shakers on the right feature my "Sand and Sea" glazing. Funny how the raw glaze doesn't at all reflect the final product, isn't it? Oh and can you see there's a Desktop tray there too? It's the Desktop Business Bunny, first cousin of the Desktop Business Frog. Should be just as eccentric.

High glaze firing takes the kiln up to just over 2300° for cone 6 stoneware. That usually takes about 14 hours or so and then the cool down takes another who knows what. I just know I have to tie my hands down to my sides and not go anywhere near the kiln for 30 hours after I started it. The slightest gush of cooler air into the kiln--even at a cool 250°--can cause the pieces thermal shock and invite cracking and shattering. I won't admit to how many kiln loads I've trashed because I opened up too early.

"Never fall in love with any of your work until it comes out of the kiln for the second time," was what I was told during one of my early formative potter moments. Yeah, but easier said....

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