Big Ceramic Store Blog

Disappointment When Opening The Kiln

Although I had a different topic picked out for today's post, however; I've decided to write on disappointing kiln openings, as it's very fresh in my mind since I had that this morning.

Have you ever been so excited to open the kiln you could hardly wait for it to cool down? I've been there many times, however; I have learned to be a bit more patient over the years.

This firing was one of those I couldn't wait to see though. I could have opened the kiln late last night but convinced myself to wait until today. I'm so glad I did, or I probably wouldn't have gotten much sleep!

There isn't much I find more frustrating then opening the kiln to find some not so nice looking products. So what do you do next?Once you're done pouting, stomping your feet, and crying... look at the positive side... there is almost always a learning experience to be had with the problems you've just revealed.

For instance, let's take a look at the bowls I pulled out today... There are a total of eight. Four are just fine, while the other four, well... they are not quite fine!

What happened you ask? This one was definitely a foolish move on my part. While I was sanding the rims to make sure they were nice and smooth, I used an old piece of sand paper that was laying on the table.

When I noticed a shiny spot on the one bowl, I realized, the sand paper I was using must have gotten wax on it. I switched to a new piece of paper and sanded off the shiny spot and the other four bowls. What I should have done was run the bowls through another bisque fire to make sure the wax was gone!

End result...

The next issue I faced was a large crack in the side of an 18" fairy garden dish complete with at rock ledge for the leading fairy. I worked very hard on this piece for a very excited customer that planned to pick it up tonight. Needless to say, it won't be ready.

What caused the crack? Well, while I was throwing the dish, my pup jumped up on the side and knocked down the rim.

My gut told me the stress was too much for the dish, but I had the perfect shape and size, so I pushed the rim up and used some foam to support it until it was dry enough to work with.

Although I used a rubber rib and compressed the clay, deep down I think I knew it still wasn't enough.

Remember I said these issues are usually a learning experience... well, here's what I learned:

  1. Always use good sand paper, and re-bisque fire if you have doubt!
  2. Never assume it's good enough and trust your gut!
  3. When you learn a valuable lesson, share it with others!

Happy Potting!

One thought on “Disappointment When Opening The Kiln”

  • Clay Blog Review: March 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

    […] Big Ceramic Store: Disappointment When Opening The Kiln […]


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