Good, bad and ugly

I opened my manual electric kiln apprehensively today after a lengthy day of firing and monitoring yesterday.

I spent a long time slowly raising the temperature of the kiln, carefully checking the temperature with my pyrometer. This proved to be quite successful and I felt like I was making progress. However, I struggled to get the kiln to cool as slowly and consistently. Once the kiln sitter had shut off, I restarted the kiln on a lower setting (4.5) with all the bungs in, but after an hour the temperature hadn’t lowered. I tried a lower setting still (4) and again the inner temperature had barely cooled. So then I tried (3) for an hour and it seemed that things might be moving in the right direction so I then tried (2) for an hour. The temperature dropped much more suddenly, but by this time it was 1.30am so I switched off and went to bed exhausted.

So, the bad news… I opened up this afternoon to find everything in the kiln has dunted again – save one cup and the two stoneware bowls thrown by my friend Ximena (thank goodness). There are also some nasty small sharp pieces that have pinged off the lips of the cups. I think this is shivering, which implies I may have a problem with the glaze too.

All the porcelain pieces have these ugly cracks:


The good news is that I have some nice results with the patterns I’ve been trialling:

polyp  Polyp

barnacle  Barnacle

urchin  Urchin

coral  Coral

anenome  Anenome

The other successes are the sgraffito tests on the insides:


And here’s the one survivor:


So I’ll have to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. Hmmm.

If anyone has any advice it would be most appreciated.


6 thoughts on “Good, bad and ugly

    • Thanks Keith – I’ll have a read. It’s a ready made powdered glaze from Potterycraft. I’m hoping to mix my own glazes eventually, but that’s in the second phase of my plan. For the meantime I need to do some more tests and try some different clays I think.

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