Monday, August 27, 2012

A very long day at the studio

I loaded the kiln with all the pots for the crystal glaze firing on Friday night. I loaded 3 shelves, and each shelf was pretty loose. Even still, I think it should have been looser. Perhaps only 2 shelves next time? I set the kiln to start firing at 8am Saturday morning and figured, at the least, I should be there by 11:30 am. When I walked in, the kiln was beeping at me. It didn't tell me why, it was just beeping. I think it was not heating fast enough. I had left the top peep out, so I plugged it up and it shut up and continued on it's way. I am not sure how long it sat at 1300 degrees F for, but I think the firing was delayed quite a bit. It then took until 6:30 to reach top temp, so perhaps too much stuff was in the kiln. I had set it for 2204 F. I don't know if that was hot enough though. Some glazes melted completely, but some others seemed to be a bit too satin, but then it could have been the application? Once it reached 2204, I pulled all the peeps and blew a large fan perpendicular to them to pull the heat out as fast as possible. The temp dropped very rapidly. It only took about 45 minutes to reach 1875 F. I then put all the peeps back in and held at that temp for 4 hours and then shut off. I left after putting all peeps in, I had been there for almost 9 hours at that point. I opened it up on Sunday to find that most of the pots were pretty hideous. There was some decent crystal formation on about half of them, but even then those pots seemed to be patchy. I had a nice little bowl come out OK, but of course, the bottom filled up with glaze and is a crusty ugly at the bottom. The results on some of them were encouraging enough to make me want to do it again, but on bigger pieces where the glaze has room to flow and form crystals. So I glazed 4 larger bowls with 2 of the more promising glazes. I waxed the bottoms on the inside then applied my first coat and proceeded to gradually wax up the sides after each application to get a really thick layer at the rim and then gradually get thinner and thinner towards the bottom. I may even attempt a large bottle. I will use a ring of wadding between the foot and the catch basin to hopefully make removal a little easier after firing.

This has some promise...

This one not so much...

Here are some of the results from the last firing

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