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Chris Campbell

Stress & Strain & Firing Craziness

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What, just look at it as another chance to fail, how wise you will become!

Some times you just have to step off without knowing the exact depth of the water, only that it is deep enough!!

And hey, you're not bored today are you???

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Bored is about the last thing I am!!

You just know I am going to be opening it too soon. Ouch!

Have you opened the kiln yet? If so was waiting anxiety worth it. Was seeing you work like Christmas morning greatness or New Year morning blues?

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I fired my 35 cubic car kiln then went away for 6 days (its day 5 of that trip today) I get a look at it when I get home tomorrow night.

Ok its my 22nd glaze this year  in that particular kiln so I see a lot of them. I always wonder whats up??

My big fear is earthquakes as they can bring the whole load down and have.

Mark

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I have a load of new work, new forms, new glazes, new washes ... firing as I write.

Second guessing my choices, doubting my testing, wishing I was firing with more information.

Isn't pottery just the best!!

oh I empathize so much ... I just tweaked one of my main glaze recipes. I tested it twice and felt reasonably confident. But the first time I glazed a whole kiln load was very stressful. Smack in the middle of holiday production season. I had to fight the urge to start unloading a hot kiln too!

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Rule One of pottery ... Anything you really care about does not go smoothly.

 

Went to check the firing around ten pm and the breaker had tripped .... So, changed the faulty breaker this morning and trying again. So far, so good. Unfortunately my other kiln needs the elements changed before I can use it for a high firing ... I have them in a drawer so it's only an afternoon's work. Knew I should have done that job before I needed to. : - )

 

So later today I will either be calling an electrician, re-wiring a kiln ... Or happily monitoring an on going firing.

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Y'see Chris you just spread your angst all over the planet!!

I am  feeling a bit stressy today and I'm just gardening!

We're all waiting to see your stuff and read your reaction.

MAy all our kiln gods be smiling for you.

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You are so right ... The cascading effect of expressing ones hopes is truly something to witness .... Firing went fine until around seven pm ... as the kiln was quietly firing down we seem to have had the 'perfect storm" of electricity when everything in the house must have clicked on at once ....... darkness fell, but no major harm we can see. Luckily I was monitoring the firing very closely and knew exactly where it was in the controlled cooling.

Next time I am going to wait and report on a firing in the past tense.

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No Chris,

I liked following your emotional journey, made me feel that there were lots of people who had experienced the same and that always is "helpful ". I enjoyed reading of everyone's thinking of you.

Nothing wrong with sharing the load.... sorry about the pun, totally unintentional.

Now if this is a wonderful result when you crack the kiln, are you going to be able to replicate it in the future???

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Chris following your firing journey this time has been a positive thing for me! I am waiting with bated breath to see what comes out of your kiln, almost as much as I am waiting to see what normally comes out of mine. Yes I KNOW to wait until the kiln has cooled all the way but I too have burned a finger pushing that "cool". Knowing you with all your experience still have the angst and joyous feelings as I do while you fire is reassuring. Keep posting!

 

Terry

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Chris;

I can't wait to see how it went. Don't forget to wear gloves.

I am off to teach those lazy Gr 12's. I don't check this blog when I;m working. I actually teach.Ha ha.

Don't forget to wear gloves.

TJR.

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9:30 am Nov 7 ... Kiln temp is still 431F so I will leave it alone because I have a bunch a glaze tests in there and don't want any confusion over the results.

It turned off at about 1700F into the controlled cooling so I expect to have more cracks in the pieces since it cooled too fast.

I have lots of witness cones inside so I will know what happened on every level.

Luckily it was full of tests ... not a special Christmas Gift or stuff for a big retail show ... :) ... which is actually the time this sort of misadventure usually happens.

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WooHoo!! Yes, I opened the kiln and all is good.

Some things worked ... others didn't ... and some are as ugly as a pot can get ... but I got a few beauties too, so all is good.

Middle image shows the comparison between the soda ash wash and glaze ... I much prefer the wash.

No images yet of the experimental works ... the forms performed well and overall I am happy but it is early days yet/.

Lessons come tomorrow when they are cool and results can be analysed.

Putting in an image of what we saw right away ... an element had sprung out and was resting on the shelf. It is totally stretched out so if anyone knows a good way to compress it again without breaking a brand new element, please share!

post-1585-0-70276500-1383864530_thumb.jpg

post-1585-0-58434700-1383864540_thumb.jpg

post-1585-0-38055000-1383864567_thumb.jpg

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Pots look terrific! Wow, were you lucky the element didn't land on the pots, kiln gods were on your side there. (element gods maybe not so much) 

 

For putting an element back in we have always heated it up with a propane torch until it glows orange and then used a piece of wood to gently push it back into the groove. The wood starts to smoke and sometimes catches fire, the element is that hot.  That being said I've never had one come out as much as yours did but I think you could heat up a couple inches at a time and work your way along then staple it in.

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