Our next firing is Saturday 7th October 7.45am start
Loading Thursday 5th October 2pm, unloading Monday 9th 2.00pm
Please have your work on the gas firing shelves by 5pm, Wednesday 4th October
The last kiln firing, August 19th, ran very smoothly with a full gas cylinder and Luci in control. It was another full pack with just a few pieces from Rod and me missing out (again). Lots of glaze samples in the firing prepared by the 'Cooking with Gas' team and we will use the time between monitoring the next firing to set out the display of these. This resource will give everyone an idea about each of the gas firing glazes and how they respond and are modified over most of the clays stocked by the club.
The firing results were very good with lots of interesting work, largely blemish free. That comes from taking care with margins at footrings and an increasing use of setters. It was pleasing to have some classwork in the firing.
Just one negative point from the firing and that relates to the new Deco buff clay. Faults, variously described as shelling, peeling or shivering, occur when the clay body shrinkage is more than the glaze can accommodate and so flakes off, particularly on edges and rims. It is the opposite fault to crazing. In extreme cases this can result in parts of the body fracturing, the glaze being stronger than the body, and my experience is that this result can be delayed over a few weeks.
This may be happening with all or just a few of the gas firing glazes, you will need to monitor your results from your favourite glazes if you are using this clay and feed faults back to the glaze team. We already have these bad results from Nick. My suggestion is that this clay is not put forward for cone 10 firings.
So we can highlight the need to understand your clay properties from the manufacturer/supplier. This Deco buff clay has a firing range up to 1280 °C. By our cones we are aiming to fire to cone 10- 1310 °C. It seems then this clay has its structure changed enough during this last 30 °C of our firings so that the clay and the glaze no longer fit. We will hear more about results with this clay if members continue to use it in the gas kiln.
This October firing should clear work for the Kapiti Art Trail, which is at the beginning of November. I am expecting another firing early December for your Christmas gifts and for the Festival of Pots at the end of January. Work on the shelves will be monitored for demand for an additional firing over the November - January period but no guarantees about that at this stage.
NEXT FIRING DOWNDRAFT GAS KILN :: May 25, 2023
All work on shelves :: Thursday 29 th June, 5pm
Kiln loading :: Friday 30 th June, 9.30am
Kiln firing :: Sunday 2 nd July, start time 7.45am
Kiln unloading :: Tuesday 4 th July, 2.00 pm
THIS WILL BE THE LAST FIRING BEFORE STARGLAZE
The last kiln firing was on Friday 19 th May , with unloading on Sunday 21 st May.
Members of the cooking with gas team attended and assisted with the loading, firing and unloading.
Other members also helped with the unloading, and my thanks to all who helped.
It was a good firing; some precautions taken included an increasing use of setters and thinner application of glazes, particularly Winnies blue, with a wider sponging of foot-rings. Some of the work from Duncan Shearer’s workshop was thickly glazed with a tenmoku style glaze and ran on to the shelves, luckily not seriously fusing with the shelves so could be removed and largely repaired with some grinding. So a cautionary word is, while a good coating of glaze helps with the richness, too much leads to problems. Do a finger test of the thickness and limit the dipping time accordingly.
Setters should be coated with kilnwash, particularly for speckled clays and especially for BRT. In spite of my preference to exclude BRT from firings, its use continues so please, when using BRT, provide your own setters well coated with kiln wash.
Another of the clays used had spectacular spiral fractures to 3 large bowls. This clay was not sourced from the club though I believe it was a white stoneware the club has stocked in the past.
Identification marks on work was much improved over that in previous firings which was pleasing to see and made pricing up the work a much easier task. Please keep that going. The new shelving for gas-fired work was full and made for a full kiln, with just one platter left for next firing. That gives us a better guide as to the amount of work instead of the combination shelf unit and table we had before. The wider spacing of the shelves makes for easier removing for the loading. So thanks to the team who installed that, and all the other new shelving.
All work on shelves :: Wednesday 17 May, 5pm
Kiln loading :: Thursday 18 May, 10am
Kiln firing :: Friday 19 May, start time 7.45am
Kiln unloading :: Sunday 21 May, 1.30 pm
After the unloading members can inspect the fired work, before attending the AGM at 3pm.
The last kiln firing was on Good Friday, April 7, with unloading on Easter Monday.
Several members of the cooking with gas group took the opportunity to become familiar with the firing process and the operation of the controls.
It was a good firing; some precautions taken included under several flat trough section pieces from BRT we laid a mat of alumina which allowed the pieces to be easily separated from the shelves, I changed the kiln wash to include more alumina and this allowed work with small runs to be separated from the shelves with just a bit of grinding required. Winnies blue continues to be a problem by running on to the shelves. A wide footring is essential with this glaze. It was good to see some use of setters and this also saved some work by stopping glaze from running on to the shelves.
Just a couple of pieces from the faulty WC20 clay batches had spectacular spiral fractures.
The perennial problem is identification on the bottoms to allow us to identify the maker. Please make your mark or member number clearer and keep glazing clear with a dob of wax.
It is encouraging to see a good volume of work coming through for firing so far this year.
The ‘Cooking with Gas’ team loaded the kiln on Saturday 1st April. All the work left over from the last firing was loaded, some of this being there since last year, along with new work delivered since the March firing. This made for a full kilnload so we are moving to fire it straight away. Only one tray of newly glazed mugs was left over, so there was only just enough work available. (Sorry Lyuba, we will get those in next firing).
It is really good to get the work on the shelves for gas fired work cleared, and some had sat there as additional work has been slow to come forward since the November firing. Also, this has made room for the old shelf and table to be removed to make room for larger new shelving which is being fitted along the end wall.
The kiln will be fired over Easter with unloading on Easter Monday at 2pm. If you have work that was waiting to be fired, please try to make it to the unloading so you can identify your work and take it away. With new shelf-building proceeding, the storage available for fired work is limited.
I am planning for the next firing to be within 6 weeks, but just as soon as sufficient volume of work is available.
The GREEN kiln was fired on Monday and unloaded on Wednesday. It was another good firing with some really nice work; but also some carnage which was so disappointing.
There was a lot more work on the shelves for firing than we could fit into the kiln. Some of this work is left over from last year. My intention is to load all the outstanding work in the next couple of weeks so the shelves are empty, and then to top up the kiln with new work as it arrives. I will set the next firing day as soon as the kiln is full and expect to fire in about 3-4 weeks.
Special thanks to my ‘Cooking with Gas’ team who helped with the loading, firing and, along with some other club members, the unloading and cleaning up. I specifically mention the cleaning up as there are a few issues to bring to members attention.
Glaze selection: some of the club glazes are proving unsatisfactory in the gas kiln. Rob will be revising the list of OK glazes in the glaze room. Particular glazes being removed from the list are Van Guilder’s Ash and Matt White. Please be careful to select only glazes from the downdraft green kiln list. These 2 glazes in particular are melting excessively leaving work stuck to the shelves. The work then has to be removed with a hammer and cold chisel, breaking the base from the pot and leaving a lot of grinding to be done to remove the shards from the shelf.
Glaze thickness: the thicker the application the more likely the glaze is to run. Be careful when double dipping or pouring. Excessive thickness of glaze is causing some of the melting on to the shelves.
Footrings: I prefer to see a footring of 6mm minimum that is fully waxed. If you trim to a definite footring it gives a clean line to wax up to and makes sure there is no residue on the base that in the cone 10 environment can melt just enough to stick a little to the shelf. Sponging the foot of the work clean runs the risk of some residue remaining in the base to bond with the shelf and usually results in a very narrow margin, often not wide enough to accommodate even a small glaze run.
Setters: it is pleasing to see some work being supplied on setters. If you have a new glaze, a test or have concerns about the glaze melt this is a great way to protect your work. In event of a run the setter and excess glaze can easily be ground off the bottom of the pot and the shelf is unaffected.
Identifying your work: We need to know to whom each work belongs as it needs to be weighed and charged to your account after firing. Your potters mark is ok though relying on this potentially requires us to recognise the mark of every club member. That is a lot of marks. SO if you chose to use your member number that is very convenient for the kiln room team. A little dab of wax on your mark or number will save it being filled with glaze and becoming illegible.
It is really disappointing for those involved with the kilns to see work irreparably broken when unloading so the notes above are just a few observations to keep in mind so we can make a great job of each firing.
First firing for 2023, loading 9am Saturday 18th March, firing 8am Monday 20 March, unloading 2pm Wednesday 22 March.
The weekend loading has been scheduled to allow the involvement of members who are not normally free during the week. I hope some members will come to the loading to assist and learn for the future. There are more learning opportunities with the Monday firing and assistance with the Wednesday unloading is also appreciated.
The most underused facility at the club is the gas kiln installation. Over 2021 and 2022 we tried to set up firings 4 weekly, seldom achieved, and have often had to reschedule firings out to 8 weeks or more apart. The reason for postponing firings is simple, about 200 units are needed to fill the kiln and that volume of work has seldom been available. I am sure the long delays between firings have disappointed members who have put forward a small number of pots only to see them languish on the shelves. There are just 4 members who contribute a good number of pots on a regular basis and there are just 3 members who have been assisting on a regular basis with loading and 2 with the long all day firing.
The club wants to get more member involvement with gas firing. This would reduce part of the heavy load on the electric kilns and the members who run those firings. The big advantage I see in more member involvement is in developing skills and collectively advancing both knowledge and the excitement of reduction fired glaze finishes.
I am setting up a gas firing group, under the title COOKING WITH GAS. Other than club membership, there are no prerequisites to joining this group except that you should have pots available for each firing and share in and learn the firing duties on a rostered system.
ALL CLUB MEMBERS PLEASE NOTE there will be no restriction on the general membership putting pots forward for any of the firings, these will continue to be welcomed.
COOKING WITH GAS will feature a series of Saturday morning instruction sessions covering
The group will be established with a manageable number of up to 10 members. Additional members may be invited to join once the group is established. Initially firings for the year will be scheduled at about 6 week intervals. I am asking for a commitment from the members who join to provide a minimum of 5 pots for each firing.
We can get COOKING WITH GAS underway on Saturday 18 March with the kiln loading, on Monday 20 March, split attendance 8am to 12 pm for start of kiln firing or 1pm to 5pm finish of kiln firing, on Wednesday 22 March unloading, then schedule our discussion Saturdays after Easter and the club raku firings in the first half of April.
Please register your interest through firstname.lastname@example.org or by mobile 027 443 9796. Please also contact me if you can assist with any part of the March firing.
I look forward to starting this journey with interested club members.
Neil Hey - Kilnmaster
With the Art Trail behind us we can now contemplate Christmas and then the Festival of Pots.
We are scheduling the next kiln firing as follows:
There is a lot of preparatory work needed for the Festival so with the intervening holiday period as well, this will be the last firing before the Festival of Pots.
It is anticipated that the first firing in 2023 will be towards the end of February. Please remember the December firing will be subject to there being sufficient work so please crack into making mode again after the break for the Art Trail. As a guide to the quantity of work we need, the pre-art trail firing included over 200 pieces.
We are hoping that all those with work in the firing will be at the opening, though everyone is always welcome to come to see the exciting work that is passing through the kiln.
The next gas firing of the green downdraft kiln is scheduled as follows:
There are a limited number of pots currently waiting to be fired. Many more are needed to fill the kiln, typically we need about 140 pieces, the alternatives we may need to consider are rescheduling or possibly firing the smaller blue kiln.
It would be helpful if members who have work ready for firing could deliver their pots by the end of Labour Day so that an assessment of how we should proceed can be made on Tuesday 25th.
This firing was scheduled so the work could be fired for the Art Trail.
Good luck everyone with sales from the Arts Trail.
Any queries, please contact me at email@example.com
We fired the green updraft kiln last week with the unloading on Saturday. Lyuba helped with the loading and firing and more than a dozen members came and assisted with the unloading. Great results again with the firing with just 2 exceptions where a lower temperature glaze was used and resulted in a serious bonding to the shelf. It is disappointing to see this result as the new shelves are damaged and the work has to be chipped from the shelf with a hammer and chisel. Remember this kiln is fired to an even temperature throughout the kiln, to cone 10, which is 1300C to 1320C. Please check the list in the glaze room and Rod’s notes below on the glazes that SHOULD NOT be used.
If you do use any of these glazes, please label your pieces clearly and place them on the separately labelled shelf.
With the imminent Kapiti Coast Art Trail fast approaching, just a month to go, we are offering last minute gas firings subject to there being sufficient work on the shelves. Proposed dates are work in kiln room before loading starts at 9am, Thursday 27th October, firing Friday 28th starting 8.30am, unloading Sunday 30th at 2pm. That leaves just the week days to prepare and label your work before the first Art’s Trail Day on Saturday 5th November.
Neil Hey, Kilnmaster
NOTE FROM ROD
The following glazes are NOT suitable for the DOWNDRAUGHT kiln:
Van Guilders Ash, Purple Haze, Mamo and Silverton Blue
All the other gas fired glazes can be used in both kilns. It is important to list the
glazes on your ticket for the UPDRAUGHT kiln as that will determine where they
are placed in the kiln.
The DOWNDRAUGHT kiln fires to 1300C. Temperature is very consistent from top to bottom. There is a wider firing range in the UPDRAUGHT kiln, from 1280 at the
top to about 1315 at the bottom.
We hope to have firings in both kilns towards the end of October.
The last gloss firing of the updraft kiln was on July 28. The kiln was very tightly packed and included some work for the DCA students. The results from the firing were excellent.
There were a few pots that didn’t fit into the firing. On the shelves there were also a number of test glaze pieces and some work more suited to the variable temperatures achieved in the updraft kiln This work has been cleared with an updraft kiln firing.
There have also been 2 bisc firings of the downdraft kiln which has helped in clearing a build-up of pots resulting from one electric kiln being out of commission.
A firing of the updraft kiln was scheduled for the middle of September but as there is a limited amount of work on the shelves at present this has been postponed 2 weeks as follows:
These dates are subject to there being sufficient work available to fill the kiln and this can only be assessed in advance if work is loaded onto the shelves when it is ready for firing. Our target is to fire once a month but this is seldom achieved.
One thing to note please, is adding identifying marks on each piece. Without an identifier the pots cannot be charged to the individual accounts. In future pots without identification will be put to one side.
From Kilnmaster Neil