Saturday, October 6, 2012

More patience. And the pay off.

Last week, I was glazing my clay pieces. And I was chomping at the bit. I wanted to race to the finish and not have to blend and pour and rinse and repeat. Then wait for the glazes to set up and be ready for firing in the kiln. I hate waiting but I like good work.

After a few days for the glazes to set up, I started the loading process. Loading a kiln is like doing a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle. There needed to be enough space between the pieces, shelves and kiln sides for good heat circulation. A balance is needed between large and small, short and tall pieces. And I tried to load certain glazes closer together.
This took patience to get it right.

The kiln was loaded, fired and unloaded twice. It took about 6 to 8 hours to complete a firing in my kiln. I have an older manual kiln, so I have to be there to turn the dial from low to medium and, at last, to high. I pushed in the plunger, set my timer and turned up the heat every two hours. I held my breath and prayed to the kiln gods and goddesses.

And I waited some more.

Even after the kiln finished firing, I waited even more. If I opened the kiln before the interior and exterior temperature was the same, I’d crack my pieces.

More patience.

Finally, it was time to unload the kiln.

This was the first firing.
This was the second firing.
When I opened the kiln, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I picked up each piece, inspected the glaze, admired the colors and glossy feel. Then, I set each one on the tray and carried it into the studio. What was once soft, lumps of clay are now bright red bowls, teal blue vases and black and white mugs.
Sometimes patience does pay off.

No comments: