Had a kind of slow day today. Planned a firing last night and had loaded up the kiln; but when I went out to start the firing late last night, I discovered my kiln wasn't working. So I spent this morning fixing it (for potters reading this, I was re-attaching and wiring the thermocouple). Anyway to test my repairs I started the firing and spent the afternoon wedging, kneading and weighing clay while it clicked away in the background.
Now what that means is that I could only work for so long before being forced to stop. Why? Because when the kiln is on it gets hot, really hot. I've just come in from checking the kiln and the temperature in my studio is 45 degrees C , that's 110 F, in the centre of my main room with the vents and door open. Just to illustrate how hot the kiln gets here are a couple of pics, taken a little while ago (It's 7:45pm now).
I know it looks a bit strange but the camera was a bit confused by the brightness, the three bright lights on the left are the vent holes into the kiln, you can see that the inside is almost white hot.
The pic above shows the blurry view through one of the vent holes. The slightly darker blob in the middle is a pot!
This is the first firing. Generally pots are fired twice. The first is called a biscuit firing, the pots are unglazed and the kiln is fired to 1000 degrees C. The second firing, or glost firing is when the pots are glazed and goes to a higher temperature; this varies as to the type of clay etc. but is normally between 1060 and 1300 degrees C.
Before I finish a quick note about the sheep I lost yesterday. When I looked at my cameras memory card this evening I found I had taken a pic not long before the sheep died. Here it is...
If you've seen the other pics you will notice the legs are longer and the shape is more defined. Pity I didn't get to finish it, but that's the nature of clay.
I'll show you the fired pots when they come out of the kiln tomorrow.