at last, back to the kiln

I have had nine big pots sitting unfired in my workshop for nine months, waiting for me to pluck up the courage and energy to fire the kiln. this might sound strange, but having an insulated box at 1280C with gas pouring into it is pretty terrifying if you think about it. and the door is only bricks with no cement. also my knees were quite bad, and kneeling to pack it, and to clean the burners out, take them off and re-bolt them in, was not a nice prospect. but now my knees are so much better, and the evenings and early mornings are light, I finally decided it was a “go”.

I had it reducing from 950C with a big red flame coming out of the flue (reduced oxygen in the kiln which pulls all the impurities to the surface of the pots and makes them much more interesting. then the gas that has not burnt in the kiln catches fire as it comes out into the air and makes the flame)

it takes about 18 hours to get up to temperature this way – slow is best, it evens things out.

and here are my cones afterwards, yes, 11 is over, which means the pots had the equivalent in heat work of about 1300C.

when I opened the kiln it was at about 90C which may have been too soon as there was an ominous cracking sound, and indeed the big one behind the one at the front was very thoroughly cracked

but maybe it would have been cracked at the bottom anyway.

otherwise everything okay, and some stunners, especially this one with the looping combed decoration.

it was not a blue firing, like some in the past – I’d not got the chun glaze on thickly enough for that – except on this

where the double dip had made it thick and it was in a hotter part of the kiln. despite the 18 hours and cone 11 over, it probably was not quite hot enough in most places.

but I am happy with the way the black oxide wash has come through the slip and shows under the glaze.

this one is the same wash, slip and glaze but because I put the slip and the glaze on in the same working day, the pot didn’t have time to dry out and did not absorb much glaze. however the iron oxide wash has done some great things with this lovely rust speckle over black areas.

I had a few small pots and they all came out well

also this porcelain sculpture where the glaze and slip almost peeled off, but didn’t and is firmly attached, like leaves or petals

these two little porcelain bottles are re-fires, with a cobalt mix glaze over the top of the already fired barium glaze – I particularly like the one with the ink black, where the glaze was really thick.

this large bottle is quite dramatic

with the heavy crawling and the oxide wash

here’s a full photo of the porcelain sculpture

and another of the small ones, which is currently on its way to Delaware in the US.

a full photo of my favourite, which is in the Bircham gallery with the two above the Delaware bottle,

and a few others, including this

a shino jar which has become much more beautiful because I used it as the core of a bundle when eco-printing with leaves, and the eucalyptus leaves have stained it, and even left a couple of leaf prints on it.

I still have a kiln’s worth of pots to glaze and fire – in a couple of weeks perhaps.



    1. thanks Paul. I’ll certainly go on until I’ve finished the gas I have. but also I really want to get what I have in the shed sold. it would be a terrible waste of all that un-eco firing if in the end it is trashed (just thinking about what will happen in the future, as one does)

    1. thank you Mike. for a while I stopped using the other glazes in my bins because all I could sell was the chun. now I have to clean out the gunk that accrues somehow (even with a lid) and start using them again

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