It is nice to have a man with strong arm muscles around the studio….

Here is Andrew helping the kiln cool down….

Sometimes kilns take far too long to cool down. Especially when you are nervy about the contents! Truth be told, yesterday’s firing didn’t go completely to plan, but then again, when does life go to plan?!

To say I was nervous is a definite understatement. I had glazes tests, new work AND significant custom orders in this load. I could barely wait until I could crack open the door and peek at the wares.

I think all potters agree that it is agony waiting for kilns to cool. And there are so many opinions as to when to take the bungs out (bungs are used to plug the peepholes and chimney) and when it’s safe to crack the door. I might be a little bit naughty but with my current glazes and claybodies, I pull the bungs out and crack at the door at just after 200 degrees. Yup, I’m impatient.

One of the things I love about developing glazes is the ability to create a strong glaze fit between the clay and the glaze – reducing crazing, pinholes and shivering among other glaze defects.

Example of shivering from Lakeside Pottery – “Though statistically not as common as other defects, shivering is a severe glaze problem that occurs when a glaze is under too much compression. The fired glaze looks like a paint chip peeling off the underlying clay body.”
Example of pinholing/pitting from Ceramic Arts Daily – “…the most annoying and difficult glaze flaws to cure. They can be caused by a badly controlled firing cycle, the glaze composition, or can originate with the body…”
Example of crazing from Ceramic Arts Daily – “Crazing is the most common defect, and normally the easiest to correct. In both crazing and shivering the eradication of problems relies on matching the thermal expansion characteristics of both body and glaze.” Granted, some glazes are designed to craze and therefore can be a desired effect.

Some glazes do respond best to natural cooling (leaving the kiln alone until room temperature is reached) but with others we can intervene without issue. Your specific kiln can play a role as well as can your firing cycle – oh so may factors!! It’s a small miracle potters produce any work given all the steps we go through!

So how did this kiln load go?

Servant Ceramics_Kiln Opening D

I think Andrew’s expression says it all!

With a BIG smile, Rachel.