Sunday 16 August 2015
Yesterday I packed and fired a glaze kiln. Above is a composite of all four shelves as I packed them one on top of the next - number 1 being the first or bottom shelf and number 4 being the top. These are what the pots look like when they've had glaze applied, but before they've been fired. In other words they should look different by the time I open the kiln tomorrow!
When I pack the kiln I use the same shelf pattern for almost every firing whether it's bisque or glaze. In other words I put the same height supports between the shelves into every firing, so the gaps or heights between the shelves are in the same arrangement each time. The reason for this is because the manufacturers put the thermocouple in an odd place, restricting where I can place the shelves (see old post rant here!)
But now I've come to think this was a happy accident! Sticking to the same layout is a great way to fire a kiln. It means I always know that the bottom and top shelf can take higher pots of a certain size while the two middle shelves take lower or flatter pieces of a certain size. Bearing mind that when I pack a kiln I have to lean over into it with heavy shelves and fragile pots covered in a delicate dusting of glaze, knowing in advance where the pots can fit nicely is a great advantage. So having a fixed shelf system has made planning and packing every kiln much easier.
Of course the hardest bit about firing a kiln is the waiting! And I've got another 24 hours at least before I'll be able to open it and see the results. Fingers crossed!