Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Kiln opening day!!

Watch this space!! This is the post that will be updated as soon as the kiln is opened!!
Updated!! Scroll down to see!!

Well, I was trying to stay up with the kiln all night, but I was so tired I had to go to bed around 3.30am. I got a couple of hours sleep, and then Scott checked the temperature for me at around 5.30am. It had finished it's ramping and was about 5 minutes into it's 15 minute soak time. I cancelled that seeing as it's just a bisque fire, so that I could go back to sleep without wondering if it had switched itself off or not. I figured the pots should be hot enough without the soak. If it only reached 950c in parts of the kiln, that would still be hot enough, but the elements surround the whole kiln from top to bottom, so it should be fairly even in there. I'll still soak for the glaze firing, just to make sure.

After 590c the kiln was on full power, and it managed to go the remaining 410c in approximately 1hour and 20 minutes!

It was very warm in the conservatory this morning! Well, I suppose I can call it my studio now, but it still needs lots of clearing out before I can set some shelves up and get all my clay and glazes out there. Anyway, what I did notice is that there was no smell! So it was definitely the carbon and sulphur burning off the pots. Scott said he thought the smell was like a struck match.

The kiln is cooling down much quicker than I expected. In 6 hours it had cooled down by about 700c. I thought it would take as long to cool down as it had to fire, minus the soak time.

So this afternoon I shall go out and buy some silts for tomorrow's glaze firing, and maybe by the time I come back the kiln will be cool enough to open! :)

I am sooo tired! But I suppose it wouldn't be fair to keep you all waiting any longer to find out what happened.

Thank you to Kim for the advice on when to open the kiln. After reading your comment I went right ahead and opened it.

So now for the answers to the two big questions - Did everything survive the firing? and Will Linda still be having a show on Friday?

Well, sad to say, no, not everything survived the firing. It didn't seem to hit me straight away, but once it had sunk in I felt like crying...

with JOY!!! Only one thing broke!! Woooohoooo!!! I had you going there for a minute didn't I? Yeah, sorry about that, I couldn't resist. :) Wow, I couldn't believe it, a near perfect firing, and the one thing that broke was something that I least expected - a tile! See how the broken one has completely moved from under this pile...

These were bone dry, so I'm guessing that this was an air bubble. Dylan's mask broke before going into the kiln, so now that it is fired I shall glue it together before he paints it.

Despite being damp when they went in, the pitchers/jugs were absolutely fine, which I'm relieved about because if they exploded they would have damaged everything else in the kiln as well. This white clay is absolutely beautiful. I hope it stays close to this colour after I've clear glazed them. I just want to eat them!

And even the tree fairy vase, which I broke and repaired while it was in it's bone dry state, survived! It looks like the feet on the squirrel are fine too. You see how the brown clay has darkened?

Phew! I have a show!! I am sooo excited now! I feel like this is my first proper show and I feel like a real artist now because I have done everything on my own, even the firing! I couldn't have done it without all the wonderful advice and support from you guys though, so thank you so so much!! Wooohooo!! :D

And now, I have lots of glazing to do!!


Kim Hines said...

just getting ready to turn of the 'puter when your post popped up. just wanted to let you know, i worked in earthenware for yrs, sculpture mostly, often added to cast pieces. at the time i'd never heard of a soak, cool down, none of that stuff. not till i started doing earthenware. not saying it's not necessary, but i used to fire the heck out of my stuff, fast fire, fast cool. didn't know anything else. the slow cool is to get certain effects from your glazes, if your in a rush it's not absolutely necessary. also, if you want to open your kiln asap, stick a piece of paper in the peep, if it doesn't catch fire it's ok to open. (i actually use my finger most times lol) bisque is a little less finicky about opening when hot, glaze fire you can hear some pings if you open too soon so be careful there. i know i've heard more pings when opening a hot kiln w/ lowfire than w/ stoneware so be careful when you glaze fire.
i'm operating on 3hrs sleep right now so i'm going back to bed. good luck :)

Angela Finney said...

GOOD LUCK, Linda! I will second Mona, you have really been working hard and blogging wonderfully in the process. I really hope your bisque firing goes well. Will check back later today with baited breath!

Monique said...

You Go Girl!!
Good luck on the glazing!!

Undaunted said...

Thank you for all your help and advice Kim! Lol, you use your finger? So if your finger catches fire you know it's too hot to open?! :D

Thank you Angela. Thankfully the bisque fire was a success! Now all I have to worry about is the glaze fire!!

Thank you Monique!

Kim Hines said...

i'm thinking that wasn't an airbubble. looks like you have tiles stacked 4 deep? that likely is what caused it. clay shrinks as it's fired, if stacked like that the clay has a hard time moving because of the weight and you get a crack. i could be wrong of course, but air bubbles don't cause explosions. very prevalant myth that one.

(btw, glad i could help. i wish i'd had somebody help me out when i first started. learned it all on my own, no classes, mentors, or teachers.)

Undaunted said...

Wow you've done well to learn so much on your own! And there is sooo much to learn!!

I'll post more pictures of the tiles tomorrow. When I got them out of the kiln I noticed a really strange blue-ish patch on them. I don't know if that has anything to do with the breakage or not.

I didn't know that about having them 4 deep, I thought it was ok to stack them, so thank you for that advice, I will remember that in future! But the broken one didn't just crack - as you saw in the photo the two halves pushed themselves apart. That photo is exactly how I found them. Strange huh?

Undaunted said...

Aha, I just found out that the marking is due to carbon coring, which I'm guessing may have caused the breakage as well. You probably know all about it but I'll write more about it tomorrow.

Kathy L said...

OH joy is right! Congratualtions Linda! The pieces are stunning! And by the way...YOU ARE AN ARTIST. Wow can't wait for the next steps!

Undaunted said...

Thank you Kathy :D *blushes*

Angela Finney said...

CONGRATULATIONS Linda!!!! So wonderful -- Good for you!!!!
Everything looks beautiful!
I am in Love with the squirrel too!!!

Undaunted said...

Thank you Angela! :)