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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Creating In A Vacuum

Just can't be done.
That is
Creating in a vacuum
Is a task unmöglich
Which is why all of Monday was spent moving my glaze application chems, tables, etc. from the garage to the dining room. Glancing to the right, the view from the living room windows is visible . . . .
Intended to fire the gas kiln on the morrow and just see what could be accomplished. Sadly, after lifting, carrying and moving all this stuff, was too tired to compute new glazes ( those already made up in bits + dabs are for cone 04-06).
Sooo! Decided to use the commercial Coyotte cone 6 glazes i have on hand.
Tuesday, shortly after the kiln was fired, an opportunity arose to ride along to Idaho Falls which is an hour's drive away but somehow takes an entire day to accomplish! The opportunity was too great to pass up because a 33-ounce size of Yuban coffee there costs $4.00. Here, the same item costs $12.99. (That's practically a $100.oo savings if you buy 10 cans!) And though it's only September, am stocking up supplies for the winter months when the roads close and we are marooned.
However, first thing yesterday morning was up with the dawn and firing the gas kiln. My feet hit the floor running the moment my eyes opened as i raced to the garage to light the pilot-bar. Usually, for some unknown reason, my mind does not compute well when it first surfaces from a deep sleep but yesterday it did pretty darn good as the need arose to configure some method of hanging the pyrometer to read the interior kiln temps.
Pretty good improvisation for a 6am inspiration, right?

Sure need to study more about gas kiln firing.
The Olympic manual sent along with the kiln is about as scarce on details as flowers are in the far-north's winter months.
Was under the impression that 2-3 feet above the kiln, the heat dissipated. Which is why i wasn't worried that the ceiling would overheat . . . .
As that kiln, sitting out in the garage ( with the huge garage door open a foot or more and a window opened to boot ) began to heat the whole house (warmest i've been since moving in! ) -- i began to worry about the ceiling! Like: uh-oh, this might have been a miscalculation . . . .
And would you believe ?? with all that heat generated, the kiln never did reach temps over 1950°F !!!
Figured i'd have to wait til 7pm or so tonight to see if the mixing bowl had come out at all. Chances were that it would not. For when the burners fired from the pilot-bar the rate of temperature increased from 100°F to 1225°F within seconds. Much too rapidly to figure out how to adjust them properly. Expected at least a hundred cracks, chinks, fissures; wouldn't have been surprized if the bowl had completely broken, especially when i found this morning that the kiln had completely cooled to the touch overnight.

Georgie's G-Mix 6 with Grog is a miraculous clay.

With all that it went through the bowl emerged from the kiln perfectly whole !!! That's just too awesome to believe.

Of course, the glaze never reached maturity . . . . The chalky lighter areas are just that -- a chalky and powdery consistency of an underfired glaze. What buffaloes me tho is that there are some areas which have a "boiled appearance" as if they got too hot !!! That is partially visible in the photo above, and again here:
Ah well . . . . it's back to the drawing board. Learning how to fire a gas kiln may be a costly proposition, especially now with the price of fuel so high. (Cost of running the electric kiln never did seem like a spendy affair for 17-cents per hour always seemed "affordable".) But, as mentioned before, the contractor who built this house, ran all the garage wiring on the same circuit so the electric kiln won't fire to temperature either . . . .

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