I have been working on a group of hand-built bowls and plates for some time. I’ve fired them with their colors and I’ve spent several posts going over the results. This is the last of the series.
Here are earlier posts in the series, if you want to take a look back. They are listed in reverse order; read from the bottom up if you want to go in order.
I’m taking you on a side trip into the world of the kiln. I thought I’d show you the inner workings of this process.
Every load of clay work to be fired is different – tiles, objects, vessels, sculptures – and the kiln needs to be flexible to handle it. This is accomplished by the design of the kiln and its “furniture”, or the items that hold the clay work in the kiln.
I’ve got a simple layout here – I just use shelves and stilts. Shelves come in whole or half sizes and the stilts are the supports. Every time I load the kiln, I need to figure out the way to arrange everything so as to get the most use out of the firing yet with every item having the space it needs.
I start at the bottom and work up, having looked over my assortment of work to go in. In a bisque, or first, firing, I can stack items; in glaze firings the items must not touch each other. The pieces all need room to expand a little during the firing and the lid should be at least an inch above everything inside.
It’s something you learn to do as you gain experience, how to make the most of your space. I enjoy the challenge of it.
All right. These are photos of the recent bowl and plate firing. I took the photos as I unloaded the kiln, so you are seeing fired work. But, voila! I reverse the order of the photos and you can follow along the process of how I got the kiln filled. I start at the bottom, level 4, and work my way up.
I was pretty happy with this load – I got all the work in by using two half shelves side by side, slightly offset. Usually these shelves stack above each other, so that taller items can go beside them and smaller ones filling the shelves (think Rapunzel tower vs plates).
Well, that is about it for the handbuilt bowls and plates story. I think I will turn my attention to other media for a while. I feel happy with the outcome of my clay work, but I also am ready to think in another language, so to speak, for a while. Thank you for following along with me.