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Heather Dudziak

Classroom Firing

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#1  I am a brand new teacher with little firing experience.  I took over a classroom that uses a cone 10 clay body but uses both cone 10 & cone 5 glazes on that clay body.  Most of the lessons I am teaching are for functional pottery.  My questions is, will the clay body be ok to use as functional pottery with only glaze firing it to cone 5?  HELP!

 

-Newbie

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Having two temperatures for glazes in one classroom is a recipe for disaster. I would lock up the cone 10 glazes and stick to cone 5.

otherwise you will have cone 5 glazes running in the cone 10 firing. Really bad. Most classrooms do not fire to cone 10-extremely hot and very much wear and tear on the kiln.

I am starting on my 28 year of teaching high school art this Sept. I wish you well in your new career.

TJR.

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I agree with TJR.  Cone 5 is hot enough, for functional ware, and you will save time on firings, and wear and tear on the kiln/ elements.  You will however need to order a different clay body.  A Cone 10 body, won't be fully vitrified at Cone 5.

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What type of kiln is installed in your room? Should I assume it is electric, or is it gas? If electric, go to cone 6 glazes and clay, as everyone else says, easier on  the kiln, and you only have to get started with the clay change. Most suppliers will furnish samples of other clays in a range. So if you get some cone 6 clay workable for hand and wheel, then you can get some samples to help you make a more informed choice for the next year. Your learning curve will be steep so try to keep as many things as possible as simple as possible.

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Make sure your kiln is properly vented. And go with one temperature...less disasters that way. ^10 is high for a classroom kiln. 66 is high enough. It will spare the kiln , cut the expense and really reduce the time firing and cooling.

 

Marcia

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I am also interested in the type of kiln whether electric or gas.

I fire all my classroom work to cone 06, bisque and glaze. but go with cone 5/6 for now and move the higher temp. stuff outta there.

Pres. is right. big learning curve here.

TJR.

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I have only been teaching ceramics for seven years and there is still some much I do not know. Every semester I learn something new. Keep posting on this forum it will be your biggest resource when it comes to questions you have for your classroom. My best advice to you is to stay simple for awhile but don't be afraid to try new things with your kiddos it will be the only way you learn. Best of luck to you.

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I think it has been said before but i will repeat it in case - a clay body formulated to cone 5 will be vitrified at cone 5 (and a vitrified body is assumably safe - provided the glazes are food safe too)  If the clay body is cone 10, then firing it to cone 5 would be under fired clay, not vitrified, and not safe.   

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Yes, it is food safe, within the limits of the glaze applied to it. However, one should realize that washing in a dishwasher, or even in a sink causes unvitrified ware to absorb water which will eventually cause the glaze to flake thus becoming unsafe. Best route is to use a narrow cone range clay and fire to its cone.

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