This year, after many long years of waiting, I purchased my first brand spanking new electric kiln. I have had a nearly permanent grin on my face since then. While my kiln is beautiful and shiny now, I know the day will eventually come when I will have to replace the elements. I’ve always fired in other people’s kilns so I have never had to do any of this sort of kiln maintenance before. So I was excited to see the article in the latest Pottery Making Illustrated about replacing elements. Today, I am sharing an excerpt from that article. I am definitely going to keep this one handy for that inevitable day when my elements go kaput. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Kilns can be built out of many things and castable refractory is one of the materials we rarely consider. Perhaps it should be considered more since it is reasonably priced, easy to mix, and easy to use. As John Britt explains in today’s post, if you are comfortable with casting plaster and making molds, you can handle building a solid arch kiln with castable refractory.
In today’s post, Richard Zakin walks us through all the major considerations of kiln performance. If you don’t already have a kiln, read on to find out how to build a sawdust kiln out of readily available materials.
In today’s clip, an excerpt from the full-length DVD Building Your Own Potter’s Kiln, Graham Sheehan demonstrates how to lay down the proper footprint for a gas kiln and explains how important these first steps are for ensuring a well-functioning, efficient kiln.
An anagama kiln at a high school? That seems highly unlikely, doesn’t it? Many high school art teachers feel lucky to have a wheel and a small electric kiln. But Council Bluffs, Iowa, high school art teacher Clay Cunningham was determined. And with careful planning and execution, he, his students and some local potters made this vision a reality (and with great results, like the vase at left by student Rick Devoss). Today, in an excerpt from the July/August 2009 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Clay shares the process and plans for building the “High School Anagama.”
Firing is the most critical part of the ceramics process because it is the one thing that makes clay durable, hence ceramic. This article presents some of the principles of firing and getting the best results with electric kilns.
Fuels are organic and carbon based, they burn readily. Until recently, all kilns were fuel burning; even now when we have ready access to easily fired electric kilns, many ceramists continue to use fuel-burning kilns: this kind of firing has an enduring appeal.Very simply, there are certain kinds of visual effects that can only be obtained from a fuel-burning kiln.
On Monday, Bruce Bowers explained his process for converting an old electric kiln into a gas and wood-fire kiln. Today, as promised, Bruce goes into detail about the firing schedule he uses with this kiln. Plus he explains how he gets excellent results by adding soda and salt into the mix.
After moving from a rural to an urban area, potter Bruce Bowers realized that, in order to continue to feed his passion for wood firing, he would have to get creative. And get creative, he did. With the cooperation of the studio where he was teaching at the time, Bruce converted an old electric kiln into a propane-fueled wood-burning kiln, with great results. Today, Bruce shares the process for converting the kiln and, on Wednesday, he will discuss how he fires the kiln. Good stuff!
This week’s Tip of the Week comes to us from ceramic artist Sylvia Nagy of Brooklyn, New York. If you are tired of scraping and cleaning kiln shelves between firings, you’ll love this simple tip.