Friday, October 7, 2011

Kiln Loaded. Fingers Crossed.

Just loading the kiln is a little nerve racking, trying to find places for all the different pieces, making sure there’s enough space in and around everything. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and juggling act rolled into one. (And I hate jigsaw puzzles.) So, every time I fire up my kiln, I cross my fingers and pray to the gods of fire for help.

I prayed extra hard this time because this is my first kiln firing with ‘mixed’ pieces. I have the hand-built masks/faces. And now, I have a collection of new wheel-thrown pieces such as bowls, cups and colanders. So loading the kiln required more shelves and more juggling. This time, I also had pieces made from 4 different clays from low, mid-range to high fire and some are a mixture of clays. Add to that all the stories I’ve heard of explosions and cracking destroying months of hard work and making functional pieces totally unusable.

And so, fingers crossed, I fired up the kiln.

I turned the dial on low for 2 hours and checked it twice, no loud explosions. Yet. I turned it up to medium and peeped through the vent slit three times, all seemed ok. I turned it up to high, removed the venting prop, closed the lid all the way and hoped all was well. Finally, the kiln turned itself off and I breathed a little sigh of relief.

I’m hoping when everything cools down to room temperature, all will be well. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. Until then, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.

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