Born from Fire and Ice

Shiny pots in the kilnI’ve now had two firings to cone 10 in my new kiln. The first one contained lots of pots that didn’t matter if things went wrong. Luckily, things went fairly well, but it got a bit exciting when the floor started to burn! I carried on firing to the end, and a friend said this showed true commitment to ceramics. That, or some kind of madness. With new fireproof flooring down, the second firing was a nail biting experience as the kiln contained lots of good pots with places to go to. This time, the gas bottle threatened to freeze, but some quick internet searching for solutions helped me keep it going. This firing was different to the first; less fire, more ice; less gas, but a faster climb in temperature. Gas kilns just seem to have their own idea about how its going to go. And I’ve still got a lot to learn, so its always a bit of ‘fingers crossed’.

Once the cones were down there was nothing to do but wait for it all to cool, and I hate waiting. But this morning I was rewarded with an array of shiny, and matt, little vessels looking up at me as I lifted the lid. As with all gas firings, there was quite a bit of variation in the temperature and reduction throughout the kiln. Some spots closer to the flame weren’t as well reduced as others and there was a cone difference in temperature between bottom and top shelves which meant a difference between milky/satin and clear/shiny glazes for some pots. But I like the variation, and the overall verdict is very positive I think. Some of the pots must now be packed up and sent out and its a little hard to let go of them. I feel a bit emotional about them, they’re my kiln’s first litter.

'Dark Metal' and Celadon vessels being unpacked

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