Archive for the ‘Glazing and Firing’ Category

A time to glaze


Bisque Firing OcarinasWith a sigh of relief and a longer than normal cooling off period, I opened the kiln this morning to discover that all of the ocarinas and MugPhlutes survived the bisque firing…in spite of some over-firing of the kiln that remains a mystery. From my experience, nothing about firing a kiln turns out perfectly and that would be the case in this instance as well. A few of the instruments warped just enough that they do not play easily. Those will become test pieces for some new glazing. Coming up soon, it is a time to glaze (click image for larger view).

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Kiln…errr Kil’n Time


Kiln LoadAbout 40 greenware pieces are firing as I write this post. The tall pieces have been waiting several months because someone (that would be me) constructed the pieces taller than my kiln could hold. Anyway, bisque firing always makes me a little nervous..probably due to memories of past kiln disasters.

This first firing takes the dried pieces to about 1650 degrees Fahrenheit and places a lot of stress on the clay…the high temperature actually transforms clay by removing all water and pushing the clay closer to what qualifies as a mature ceramic material. A second (and sometimes third) firing will include glazes and even higher temperatures. Programmable controls and electronic pyrometers have taken away most of the guesswork and babysitting of a kiln as it heats up. What used to be a lot of up close and personal “Kiln Time” has evolved into “killing time” while the computer, the kiln, and the power source talk to one another…no doubt, a heated conversation.