Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Like Putting a Bonsai Pot Jigsaw Together, But the Pieces Don't Fit!

Loading the kiln up for a glaze firing was a bit of a mission.

The idea is to get as many bonsai pots/slabs/crescents in as I can.  None can be touching and preferably about 1/4 to 1/2 inch between them.  

Because I make all sorts of sizes and shapes of pots, the logistics and time spent trying to make the most of the kiln space by fitting as much in as possible means the brain is working overtime.  Oh to have a larger kiln!!
The very large slab on top needs to sit flat on the kiln shelf. Its slightly larger than any half shelves I have, so a little is hanging over the edge.  Fingers crossed that it wont be enough to put stress on the sides and end up cracking.
This larger crescent is hogging most of the space on one side, not allowing any full round shelves and really wasting a lot of space around it.  Lots of empty space means the kiln doesn't fire as efficiently, certainly not as cost effective either as it can take much longer to get up to and stay at that high temperature.
The other thing to consider is that there should be about an inch gap between the bottom of the kiln lid and the top of the pot.  As the kiln heats up there are certain temperatures where the pots will expand and then contract.  If the pot is too close to the lid the glaze on the pot can end up sticking to the lid and badly damaging it. Not an ideal situation....hopefully its far enough away, fingers crossed.  Placing a piece of wood from one side to the other gives you a reasonable idea if its too close.                                 
Making a bit of an inroad into getting a decent stock of pots made.  They are all a mixture of fairly subdued colours.  I'm not really into making bright cobalt blues and yellows etc....they definitely have their place though.
 There's a wee few pots put aside to go in another glaze firing in the future when I make up some more glaze.  Been trying to find a simple recipe for a nice satin grey colour, haven't had much luck yet as some glaze ingredients differ from country to country and some are fairly toxic... I try and stay away from those.

Cant wait to open the kiln up tomorrow afternoon, who knows what surprises await.