Sunday, December 09, 2007

back on subject

But first a little digression. It seemed I was being very paranoid, when even after we had a day and time set for our closing, that I was still anxious whether we would really close the next day as scheduled. The rest of the property would not close for another 10 days. I was greatly relieved when we left the title company with final sale papers in hand. The closing on the rest of the property (30 acres and 5 families) was scheduled for December 7th. All involved parties arrived at title company on the 7th eager for the closing. BUT there was NO closing that day. Due to an error at city hall it seems it may not close before mid-January or February. Talk about being grateful! I really am!

Now, back on subject. In the midst of all this confusion and uncertainty I have tried to do a little potting. On Friday I did get the kiln loaded and firing for a bisque load. It seemed to go OK--with only one mishap, see below--but the cone packs tell a different story. I filled 4 shelves and put in 4 cone packs (generally I only put in 3 but I know the kiln is not firing consistently and I wanted a good check.) Here is what I got: top shelf: ^06 & 05 down, ^04 @ 2:00, and ^03 no movement; next shelf: ^06 down, ^05 @1:00, ^04 & 03 no movement; next shelf: ^06 down, all else no movement; bottom shelf: no movement in any of the cones. I set the kiln to fire to ^05 (1880 F) with no soak. It took 12 1/2 hours to complete (electronic kiln). I knew I need to replace the elements as soon as we move the kiln, I don't want to replace before the move. What I want to do is to be able to glaze fire some of these pieces. So, the question is can I just put pots in the top to glaze fire? Do I leave the lower areas empty? Or do I put kiln furniture there to even out or hold some heat? I think that I could do everything I need to do now in two runs of the top shelf. Any suggestions?

The one little disaster in the bisque firing was a glazed pot I put in to refire hoping to smooth out a scratched area where I had to grind off a bit of kiln wash on the bottom of the pot. It did smooth out the scratched area but there must have been some trash flying around in the kiln and some of it landed inside the bowl leaving two ugly spots inside the bowl--an otherwise smooth, even glazed blow. So that lovely bowl is now a 'second' which we will enjoy using.


potterboy said...

It's a shame about the bowl, because it looks pretty good from here. I don't quite know how you get such even glazing and so neat around the bottom of the foot ring.

Of course, someone like Hamada might have picked this bowl, because of the two 'ugly spots.'

I'm not really in a position to give advice about the kiln. But I wonder, do any of your glazes take a higher heat? You could fill the top with these, and the middle with normal and then fire a cone higher. At least then you wouldn't be firing a mostly empty kiln.

Otherwise, I would think your plan would work. I would leave the other shelves empty and watch those cones as they might go over a bit quicker. Heating stuff for no reason seems like a waste of energy to me.

But one of the others will probably have better suggestions. Good luck with it, anyway.

Sister Creek Potter said...

Thanks, Andrew. It was a nice bowl--even if terribly like something "made in China and sold at Walmart". I get a lot of pieces with ugly runs (in my opinion) going in every direction that drive me crazy. But this is a forgiving glaze and covers nicely.

I will try to fill the top 2 shelves for my glaze firing and add a soak at the end. And, as you suggest, watch the cones closely toward the end. It also seems a waste not to get all the use out of the elements that are still functioning. It is recommended that you change all the elements at the same time. Gay