The kiln I have borrowed has a kiln sitter. This is a mechanical control that fires your kiln to the required time and temperature by using a small pyrometric cone or bar. After being exposed to the chosen time and temperature, the cone or bar softens and bends, shutting off the kiln.
I’ve done a lot of research to make sure I know how to use it as I don’t want to damage the kiln or my work. I need a couple of spare parts; most importantly the firing gauge to ensure that the sitter’s shut off mechanism is adjusted properly. I’ve ordered some firing bars and also some witness cones to check the accuracy of the kiln sitter.
Starting with a computerised controller might make things easier. For me though, that would be like trying to run before I can walk, or be an artist without learning to draw. I feel that sometimes we can rely too much on technology to do everything for us; rather than understand why, and learn how to do things first. As a graphic designer I was taught, and taught others, to use a sketchbook to draw ideas. Only when those ideas had been thought out and discussed would you move to a computer to progress them. The result would be something with depth and longevity rather than a fashionable, quick fix. To be fair when I was a student at Central St Martins computer aided design was in its infancy; but typography, composition, mark-making and colour theory have been more valuable skills learned than anything else. Plus they are skills that are transferrable. It’s true that computers can do amazing things, but we mustn’t forget that they are tools. We have another tool that needs more exercise – our brain.
I’ll let you know how Ruby and I get on. I may have to eat my words.