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Stacking Pots Rim To Rim In Glaze Firing


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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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.

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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
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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. 

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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.

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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
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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! 

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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.

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  • 2 years later...
3 minutes ago, robynsk said:

Hi there,
Came across this thread while looking for advice on making my own kiln furniture. 
I'm curious... did you ever find any clever stacking hacks?
 

You can get away with a lot in a bisque, but in a glaze firing the consensus seems to be to just do it the regular way.

On the subject of making your own kiln furniture, unless you need something odd/specific, it's not worth it. Kiln furniture is cheap.

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I watched Simons last video last night.

Note the rolled rims for stability in the stack. 

He talks about going 6 high but 4 seems plenty.

I am working a way to pack more efficiently currently. 

Going to find that tumblethread.

 

Sorce

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1 hour ago, Mark C. said:

Look up my thread on tumble stacking

For bisque, absolutely... I have bowls on their sides filled with the bums of tumblers (and the tumblers stuffed with test tiles) and other bowls on top upside down like happy little hats :-) 
But I thought we were talking about glaze firing... I have a tiny little kiln and I'm keen to find a way to glaze at least a few bowls at a time.
I'm thinking of making a variation on tile stacking props where I can have bowls (rims unglazed - it's not for food) upside down nested on a little step one above the other). I have to make and fire the little stands first, and check how much my new glazes run before I give it a real whirl with actual bowls... but if the plan gets past those potential hurdles, I'll post the results here in coming weeks.

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4 hours ago, robynsk said:

I'm thinking of making a variation on tile stacking props where I can have bowls (rims unglazed - it's not for food) 

Be cautious about making functional forms that aren't meant for food. Just because you and the person you sell it to know the bowl isn't meant for food, doesn't mean someone else using the bowl- a guest in their house, the next owner of the bowl, etc.- will know it shouldn't be used for food.

An unglazed rim can be fine for food use if the clay is well vitrified.

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