Results Are In – Part 4

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.

Results Are In – Part 3

Results Are In – Part 2

Results Are In – Part 1

Kiln Time for the Bowls and Plates

Update on the Hand-Built Bowl Project

Bowls and Plates – Update

The Future Holds a Secret

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.


The kiln…


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.

14 thoughts on “Results Are In – Part 4

  1. memadtwo

    That’s so great that you have your own kiln!
    And thanks for sharing the process. I always enjoy seeing how things come together. (K)

  2. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, I got the kiln after taking my work out to be fired for some time and it has been worth it – I’ve had it about 10 years now. Kiln-loading and firing is not usually thought of in the clay process since in art centers and so on someone does it for you, but I enjoy it.

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, it does, because I can control the process, and though I pretty much stay with the pre-set programs, there is a lot of configuring as to how hot, and how fast, and so on. Think of baking and you know what I mean.

  4. Claudia McGill Post author

    You are welcome. I enjoyed showing things from start to finish like this. I hope it will give people another level of appreciation for clay work to see how it is made.

  5. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, once I knew I wanted to do clay on a bigger scale, the kiln was a good purchase for that reason. It’s a big investment and not to be undertaken lightly, the cost and getting the electricity set up and so on, but — it is really SO much easier to carry out projects and so for that reason probably pushed my clay skills along more than anything else.

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