Sunday, July 11, 2010
After a few lovely, long days of cooling the kiln, we unloaded on Saturday. The front chamber looked fabulous:
Toasty browns, more ash than usual (thanks to a slightly longer soak and new grate spacing) and some nice flashing. Our only hitch was that the pyrometer fell in during the firing:
Fortunately Joe fished it out before the wires were totally fried, and, although the cover fell onto the one of the only glazed pots in the entire front stack, we were able to free it without breaking anything.
And the second chamber...
We had shelf issues. Again! Just before getting to temperature in the second chamber, the cones on my side disappeared, replaced with a shelf in front of the spyhole. While the kiln cooled, we hashed over all the things that could have caused the shelf to shift--we were confident that inexperience or loading error weren't factors, because Joe and I loaded the kiln ourselves. We thought that maybe the floor was shifting during the firing, or that we needed more of an expansion joint between the floor blocks. More than anything, we were confused and upset--because, really, who has shelves collapse more than once??
After we unstacked the door and pulled pots off the shelves, the problem was obvious:
One of our heavy-duty firebricks had fallen apart like a crumbly brownie, and this poor little heroic mug was the only thing holding the stack up!
The same thing happened in the center stack:
Only this time, a teabowl held the shelf up:
Check out the brick carnage behind the teabowl! Luckily we only lost a few pots due to the collapse--most of them somehow stayed on the shelves. While the firebricks we use for posts are top-of-the-line, they were used when we purchased them, and somewhere between 40 and 60 years old. A little tired, perhaps. We are planning to get silicon carbide posts before our next firing. If anyone has a good source for these (or just super-duty bricks) please let us know.
And the pots...
We are really happy with the results of the firing! Most of the pots on the table above are for a show in Wisconsin that opens this month, and a few are going to be set aside for the Clay and Blogs Show later this fall.