You’re Fired!

I’ve got responsibility for kiln firing some pieces created by students on a course. After six weeks’ drying, their ceramic relief plaques will need to be placed inside our kiln and the programme set to heat them up at 25ºC/hr for a over day, eventually reaching over 1000ºC until soaking for five hours and cooling.

The thought of dropping or cracking one of these beautiful creations terrifies me. One lady made a tribute to her recently departed husband, immortalising his memory with a design that echoed his interests. Someone has made something with a number on it, definitely with a place in mind for it to go.

… No pressure then.

When people create such wonderful things, it helps make the job for people like me worthwhile. When these things they make require such care and patience, it adds to their value and uniqueness. I do hope that in six week’s time, I can fire these pieces correctly and ensure they can be collected by their creators with smiles on their faces.

Martin Copley the Tutor has left me with clear instructions and I want to make sure he comes again, so I’d better not fail!

  • The upshot of this is that several firings later, the worst did happen and some pieces exploded. The physical reason was the pieces air-drying in the kiln had not fully dried out so moisture was left in them, which, of course, began to boil at 100 degrees. The kiln goes up as high as 1020 degrees, so if there is any mositure, it will bubble at boiling point and crack the clay.