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QotW: Kiln stuffers, what does everybody make to fill those little empty spaces in the kiln?

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Min asked recently in the QotW pool:  Kiln stuffers, what does everybody make to fill those little empty spaces in the kiln? 

Hmm, Min I should have open spaces in my kiln? Naw, just joshing! For over 35 years of loading my HS classroom kiln I had to use every spot of space in the kiln whether loading bisque or glaze. Most of the time we had a pile of sculptural handbuilt projects, and one would set on the shelf, one would be on a brick right next to the first with the overlaps saving space. Thrown bowls were put in right side up, upside down, with things underneath or inside. Mugs were crammed in wherever, pinch pots the same. Some bisques used no shelving at all, just everything carefully stacked in to the walls on top of each other. . .  very carefully. Same for glaze loads, I would sometimes have shelves 12" apart with 1/4 shelves and broken shelves in between creating overlapping layers. Yeah, I really didn't have to fill space, but even I had to fire test tiles, and they went in along with the rest. . . filling spaces.

 

 

best,

Pres

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Thanks for posting my question Pres.

Mark, do soap dishes sell better for you than your soap pumps?

My kiln fillers are quite small, between 2 - 3" tall or wide. Teabag/ring dishes, mini bowls, and no trim mini tubs and mini jugs. The jugs and bowls sell the best for me. Jugs for warming up maple syrup, melted butter, cream, salad dressing etc.

 

IMG_2579.jpg.f7d3828c6d5b99c37bf3452f44d4b34e.jpg

 

 

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Soap/lotion pumps outsell soap dishes for sure

But soap dishes are a perfect stuffer-I wholesale them and they sell in all 9 of my outlets.I like making them as well. I make about 1/2 of them with drain holes

I now use the metal covered (stainless heavy duty flat head pumps-)on my lotions and charge $5 more for them. I no longer offer plastic pumps. The metal tops made sales pick up.I buy them in $500 lots (I buy them in 200 lots to save $$ that saves  a few dollars per pump)from some fellow potters I know who import and resale parts as well as they are high end crystalline potters.

You can view them at 

http://www.onedreamdesign.com

 

Edited by Mark C.

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17 hours ago, Pres said:

Min asked recently in the QotW pool:  Kiln stuffers, what does everybody make to fill those little empty spaces in the kiln? 

Hmm, Min I should have open spaces in my kiln? Naw, just joshing! For over 35 years of loading my HS classroom kiln I had to use every spot of space in the kiln whether loading bisque or glaze. Most of the time we had a pile of sculptural handbuilt projects, and one would set on the shelf, one would be on a brick right next to the first with the overlaps saving space. Thrown bowls were put in right side up, upside down, with things underneath or inside. Mugs were crammed in wherever, pinch pots the same. Some bisques used no shelving at all, just everything carefully stacked in to the walls on top of each other. . .  very carefully. Same for glaze loads, I would sometimes have shelves 12" apart with 1/4 shelves and broken shelves in between creating overlapping layers. Yeah, I really didn't have to fill space, but even I had to fire test tiles, and they went in along with the rest. . . filling spaces.

 

 

best,

Pres

Art teachers are really good at three-dimensional Tetris!

The worst however, is when you get so far in loading, and find something that  either; A. Would fit better on a different spot, or B. You forgot about all together, because you had it sitting aside (Sometimes sitting aside, so you didn't forget about it...)

I have had to unload, just to reload before.  A lot of heavy sighing is involved...

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That is why kiln loading was done either with student help during a class period so that they could see the amount of work that went into it, or after school when it would take a couple of hours to get everything in.

 

best,

Pres

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8 hours ago, Mark C. said:

Soap/lotion pumps outsell soap dishes for sure

But soap dishes are a perfect stuffer-I wholesale them and they sell in all 9 of my outlets.I like making them as well. I make about 1/2 of them with drain holes

I now use the metal covered (stainless heavy duty pumps)on my lotions and charge $5 more for them. I no longer offer plastic pumps. The metal tops made sales pick up.I buy them in $500 lots (sane  a few dollars per pump)from some fellow potters I know who import and resale parts as well as they are high end crystalline potters.

You can view them at onedream.com

 

That url leads to a motivational speaker or something

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22 hours ago, Pres said:

That is why kiln loading was done either with student help during a class period so that they could see the amount of work that went into it, or after school when it would take a couple of hours to get everything in.

 

best,

Pres

I'll have, what we call, "Service Learners" help me with loading and unloading.  They are students, who get a grade, for helping teachers.  I only accept students, who I've had in class, and who I trust to do a wide variety of tasks, load/ unload the kiln, make test tiles, cut photo paper and mix darkroom chemicals.  Oh, and and one of my, and probably their least favorite, redo the wash on the kiln shelves!

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When I first was learning to load my electric kiln (vs. the wonderfully huge gas kiln at college) I realized it wasn't as easy to plan the space as I thought.  All it took was one time of getting the thing almost loaded and then finding I had to disassemble it and redo it becasue there were some time sensitive pieces to be fired, which of course were the last ones and wouldn't fit. So I made myself mock shelves out of foam core. I was able to quickly plan out the load on the work table, accounting for height, and after a couple of times doing that, I pretty much get it done w/o the assist. The missing corner on the foam core is courtesy of the rat that moved in while I was on vacation. He ate my good woodfire gloves, the trim  on my best boots, chewed a hole in the wall to/from the outside , and would not leave until I took drastic measures.   For stuffers, I use the smallest of the smalls (incense cone holders/spoons) to fill the little spaces. No baked rodent, tempting as it was.

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