Jump to content
Joseph F

Stacking Pots Rim To Rim In Glaze Firing

Recommended Posts

Joseph F    867

So I have been thinking about how to better utilize my kiln space since I am going to start selling pots soon on a production level, which means I need to fit more stuff per load. 

 

Eventually I will buy a new kiln if this goes well. However right now I only have 2.7CuFT to fire in.

 

I was thinking about not glazing the rims of my pots then stacking them like: Bowl up, bowl down(rim to rim), then another bowl on top of that upside down foot, then another bowl rim to rim. This would also solve my spoon rest hate, as I don't like how much room a spoon rest takes up. I figure I can stack 100 spoon rest in my kiln if I do them like this. 

 

My current glazes would work with this aesthetic as well. My grey white 3 glaze combo would be fine with the rim of the pots showing, and the crackle slip glazes I already show the rims on some of them and I like it just fine. The only thing I am unsure about this for is mugs/cups or things that touch the lip. However I drink out of several wood fired pots that are unglazed on the rims and I don't mind the texture. I actually like it because it sort of reminds me I am drinking from that cup(or I might just skip doing this on mugs/cups)

 

Anyways... has anyone done this in a glaze firing? I know Simon Leach does this for bowls, but he only does it 2 high. I was thinking about 4-6-8 high from bottom to top of kiln. This way I could fire 30 bowls in this little space as opposed to like 16. Because I can stack the bowls beside the other bowls starting upside down so they can fit in there really tight since they will all be the same size. 

 

Something like this:

 

post-63346-0-52921000-1503854994_thumb.png

 

The only thing I am concerned about is shrinkage and them falling over and sticking to my walls. lol. I think the major thing is I am going to have to figure out a really solid foot design so that the pots fit well together. I think a wider foot band and a wider rim. Making them both flat as part of the final design so that it looks purposeful.

 

I know people tumble stack bisque like this, but I didn't know if glaze firing would be a lot different since the clay goes through more.

Edited by Joseph F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
neilestrick    1,381

Lots of potential problems there. First, like you said, if anything slips you're going to lose a lot of work and stick it to the walls of your kiln. It'll only take one load that's all fused together and stuck to the kiln to change your mind about this. Second, I think things will be far more likely to warp. Third, Most people won't by a mug that's not glazed on the lip. It's not comfortable on the lip, and no matter what you tell them about it being vitrified and food safe, deep down they won't believe you. Same goes for bowls or any other functional form- people aren't comfortable with it being unglazed where food touches it unless they have a thorough understanding of ceramics, which 99.999% of the public does not. You might be able to get away with the spoon rests, although you can probably fit spoon rests between bowls.

 

If you're serious about making and selling work, then having the proper equipment to do that is part of the program. Find a bigger kiln on Craigslist. Or figure out some forms that have flared bottoms that can fit between the bowls. There are a lot of design possibilities to maximize kiln space.

Edited by neilestrick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    867

I guess if I am selling enough I wont have to really worry about this problem anyways as I can quickly afford a new kiln. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark C.    1,807

I personally think an unglazed rim is a detractor.

I think the public will also be confused .

The whole pile as you noted can and will sooner or later shift and the saved space will be moot point at that point.

Now if its a salt or wood fire process than thats a bit different but cone 6 is not those at all.

Sometimes the forms just fight you in efficiency but its also part of the whole deal. I see issues ahead with this. 2 high well that would be less issues but still the unglazed lip thing is still there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    867

Yea. It was just a thought. I didn't figure it would work, but thought I might ask you experts just in case you had seen it done. 

 

I will just develop some little tinker pot to go under bowl rims. Maybe chopstick holders or something I can extrude and sell for a few bucks.

Edited by Joseph F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark C.    1,807

When my life slows a notch I can do a thread on small items that sell well,it will be later in Oct.

Edited by Mark C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bciskepottery    925

Unless you apply alumina to the rims, they are likely to stick during a glaze firing (unlike a lower temp bisque firing).

 

Understand the desire to maximize kiln space, but work with what you have and focus on quality, not quantity. Cost of electric firing is not that much in terms of overall price of an item. May be a few pennies more per piece now, but you'll make it up later with larger kiln.

 

Think long term, pottery/ceramics is not for those who tend toward instant gratification. But you already knew that -- as evidenced by your journey so far and your work to achieve your own voice in glazes, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oldlady    1,323

joseph, you can also raise the bowls an inch or so by putting them on posts, leaving more space under the edges.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GiselleNo5    464

I used to pack my glaze kilns as full as possible but I learned the hard way with items ruined by fuming and dripping to leave enough space that my hand can pass between. 


med_gallery_67168_1345_1716771.jpg

 

I do a lot of work that I leave portions unglazed to show the clay but if it's going to be used for food I always glaze any portion that people will have to touch a lot. My mugs, I glaze the handle as well as the rim (a little over 1/4" on the rim). I have some that I've applied the glaze to the interior and left the exterior including the rim and handle bare and those mugs just never sell. Fortunately I figured it out after only doing that with a couple so I don't have too many items that are just sitting here. 

 

In the photo I don't know if you can tell (I applied the clear a tad too thickly to this one) but I carve a little well around the base of the handle and also around the portion at the top. This makes glazing it much easier as the glaze has somewhere to stop even when applied too thickly. The glaze tends to fill the little wells and render them invisible. 

I realize this is NOT the question you were asking Joseph but I always think information is useful and who knows, this may give some ideas as to how to handle your kiln. 

 

A side note: When I'm firing a kiln load of these pieces I actually put them real close to each other to encourage the clear gloss coat of the glaze to fume onto the other pieces. It gives it a really interesting look, I think just a little reminiscent of wood fired pieces I've seen. Gives the decoration more depth and interest in my opinion. :)

Edited by GiselleNo5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    867

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions folks. I appreciate them. Just gonna keep doing what I'm doing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GEP    863

I started with a 3cf kiln. I used it for about 2 years, then bought a bigger one. It can work for the time being. You'll be firing it a lot, that's all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    867

I don't mind firing a lot. My schedule just has a rather long cooling process. So I am going to have to try to minimize that a little because if I am going to be firing all the time that isn't going to work with all the errands I have to run during the evenings.

 

Another key thing I am going to have to figure out is how to maximize my kiln space with smalls between bowls and other things. It will be a learning process, but I am ready to take the plunge again and start selling. I haven't sold in about a year and half and I think my work is much better quality now. 

 

The instructor at my son's dojo knew I did pottery from casual conversations so he asked me to make him a bowl for the studio for the entry table. So I made him a nice big grey/white bowl and he put it out front. I didn't realize how many people were then going to come up to me and ask me where they can buy my work, apparently he told everyone who asked him where he got it from...

 

So now I have a lot of people wanting to buy my work and I also am happy with my work, so I figure the combination of the two means it is time to start selling again.

 

Thanks for all the recommendations, good thoughts and experience lessons! = )

 

Time to take a nap. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GEP    863

I have seen how tweaking a design, a few millimeters here and a few millimeters there, will mean I can fit seven on a shelf instead of five. I have also seen how sometimes a good sellable design just isn't worth the amount of space it needs in the kiln. You will be forced to think about these things out of necessity, and you will gain from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
neilestrick    1,381

It's good that you're thinking about these things. I've got a ginormous kiln, so I don't have to make many concessions when it comes to fitting things into the kiln. However, there are some designs that I just don't make any more because they weren't worth the effort from a financial standpoint.

Edited by neilestrick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GiselleNo5    464

I did the math once and figured out that a kiln which holds 12 utensil holders is worth exactly the same amount as a kiln holding 30 mugs. And the utensil holders are easier to make of course because they don't have handles. However. The utensil holders sell much more slowly than the mugs, so just focusing on them would be a huge mistake from a business standpoint. So I fit a few larger pots in the bottom shelf and then I can get about 20 mugs into each load. It has been working pretty well for me. It's such a balancing act, and we as small business owners don't have huge million dollar marketing research departments to tell us which products will be best to focus on. It's all on us! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Benzine    611

Joseph, 

 

Slightly unrelated, but your diagram creates are really nice pattern.  You should incorporate it into your work.  A kiln loading diagram, on an item being fired in the kiln... *Mind Blown*...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    867

Joseph,

 

Slightly unrelated, but your diagram creates are really nice pattern. You should incorporate it into your work. A kiln loading diagram, on an item being fired in the kiln... *Mind Blown*...

Kaboom!😋

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oldlady    1,323

i have wanted to use my scanner to draw things and send them for years but lost the correct cord.  how did you do it, joseph, if it is not too technical?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    867

I just used a vector based drawing program. Adobe Illustrator. It allows you to draw shapes and graphics that have unlimited enlargements for print. It is pretty technical application and takes years to learn. I just tinker with it for some small things here and there. I don't really know that much about it. Sorry I can't be of more help. I just wanted to illustrate my idea quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×