Friday, August 30, 2013

August ends and September begins and so does the next firing.


 It is the end of August, the end of summer fun, the end of long days and soon the end of the butterflies.


 I had an email from a customer who wanted to use one of my butterflies on her website. Of course I said yes. I enjoyed being able to share one of mine with her and her audience.
We meet so many folks in our little shop here in Seagrove and many times they know what we do for a living, but we don't get to know what they do.
It is just as interesting to us to know how other folks make their way in this world.

We are at the end of our throwing, turning, making cycle and I have started the planning for a firing.
We plan around the size of the pottery that goes on what we call the crown shelf, the last one in the stack with the tall pots on it. I use the size of these to plan the rest of the kiln around them.
The bottom two shelves, back and middle are always 9 inches.
 Then I plan for 3inch up to 8 inch shelves up to the top.
The idea when we are planning and loading is not to create hot spots and cold spots in the stack.
If it is too open it can make that area too hot.
If it is too tight, we find that that area might not fire the way we want and the reduction can be spotty.




Finding a balance as I plan each shelf is extremely important.

I try to pay attention to the pots that are placed at the edge of the shelves.
These can take quite a bit of flame and that is where I place our filler pots.
 Then, if they do not match their cousins, it is not as much of an issue.

Then again it is pottery, should it match?
No, but that is another post.

The count on planned shelves for the firing so far is 14.
I always plan at least 21 shelves. I know that of the 7 left 2 of those will be tall, crown, pots.
That really leaves me with 5 more for the inner shelves.

Of the 21, 3 always have the same placement and size across the bottom. Of those 3, 2 will always be 9 inches and the front one is always 6 inches.
If those pots are made it is a good place to start.

It does not take me long in planning the load to figure out if we have made all the pots we need to fire.
I can get into the bisque-ware and see pretty soon if we need to step back to the wheels and toss out more pots.

Yesterday we knew that Mark needed to make a few more tall pots. We have one shelf that is 21 inches tall for a lamp order. It is better for the kiln not to have one 21 inch shelf and then 2 at 12 inches.... that makes that 21  inch one a real hot spot.
By making more taller pots we can even out the space at the top of the kiln.

Now, if your head is spinning then take a minute to just look at the butterflies.
That is what I do.



Meredith

10 comments:

Jimmy Randolph said...


BUTTERFLIES ARE THE PERFECT REMEDY FOR SPINNING HEADS! ANOTHER WONDERFUL GLIMPSE INTO THE COMPLEX INNER WORKINGS OF THE STUDIO. THE SIMPLE BEAUTY AND SERENITY OF THE SHOP FLOOR LEAVES US CUSTOMERS WITH VERY LITTLE INSIGHT INTO THE PROCESSES THAT PRECEDE THE FINISHED PRODUCT. THANKS, AND HAPPY SEPTEMBER!

Michèle Hastings said...

thank you for the butterfly, because math does make my head spin!

smalltownme said...

So complicated but worth every thought for the lovelies that come out of the kiln.

Gail said...

I had no idea that loading a kiln was so complex. The potters we dealt with years ago talked about "a potter's dozen", which could be 8 or 13 or anywhere in between or less. So I figured you just put some pottery in the kiln and hoped a lot.

Kathy Catlin said...

Thank you SO much for the discussion of kiln loading. I still am learning, learning,learning and it helps to hear how others approach the process!

xoxoxo
(and I like the butterflies too!)

cookingwithgas said...

There is that thing, Jimmy, that people thing all we do is throw pots. There is a lot of behind the scenes happening everyday.

cookingwithgas said...

There are days that we do a lot of finger crossing Gail-
This gets me in more trouble than I tell you- "I wonder what will happen if I ...." Trouble!

cookingwithgas said...

Math is hard! But don't tell my mother, please.

Tracey Broome said...

There was like, MATH, involved here, ugh! I would be one of those that just sticks some stuff in there and hope for the best, this is why you have a successful pottery and I wander aimlessly through the world,haha!

Laurie said...

An excellent ending to this post, and I love your interest in knowing how your customers make their way in this world.