Sunday, March 12, 2017

You can't all make bowls

As you all know I am still teaching one day a week at the Community College.
One of the things I do is load kilns.
I load the bisque kiln and some days I am loading a glaze kiln as well.
There are these times when everyone is making bowls.
I can't tell you why, maybe it is the alignment of the stars, the moon or a combination of both.
The problem with everyone making and glazing bowls is shelf space in the kiln. What do I put around all the bowls? How do I get them all in? It has become a  puzzle for me to figure out.

In our own studio we know for every serving bowls on a shelf we need 10 mugs, 4 to 6 juice cups, and maybe an odd item or two.
We also know, that in order to fire well using gas the kiln needs some mass around the bowls.

I just grabbed a picture from a firing done last year, as you can see that there are many like items on a shelf, but in order to get good heat flow through the kiln, we will vary sizes. If I packed a shelf with nothing but beer mugs, 3rd from the top, I could block some of the pots from getting the heat and later the reduction that is needed.You can see that along with the mugs are salt jars, a juice cup or two and some spoon jars.
Looking above or below you will find like items staggered with unlike items. Again this helps the kiln heat all the pots, and helps those pots get an even reduction. Or, as even as possible.

In the electric kilns we fire I use as much space as possible filling all the nooks and crannies I can.

I was trying to find a picture for you and ran across a picture of the large gas kiln that we are not firing right now.
You can still get a feel of how much you will need other pots to fill a kiln.

When we plan a load to fire we usually work off a list, knowing that filling the kiln in the most efficient way to work. We work towards a goal. Mugs, oil lamps, lamps, crocks, juice cups, bowls....jars, creamers, trays... and so it goes.
How do you map out your work, even if you are not making pottery you need a plan to get a job done.
Are you just making bowls all day, or do you have a lot more on your list?


Michèle Hastings said...

Bowls and flat things are such a pain! When I do make a bunch of either, I know that they most likely will not all be fired at once.

Laurie said...

Something to think about. Though I've added some diversity to my metal shop, there hasn't been much in my soap shop lately. I've been pondering how to diversify more, and make that work. Having finished readying my taxes this weekend, I hope I'll have a bit more time to be creative.

cookingwithgas said...

How true Michele, you can wait a long time for those to work through.
Laurie, it's tax season.........New saving mugs in the next few weeks.

Anna said...

I can imagine the difficulties with packing for students work... I am making sculptures but also other pieces to go between that are fairly narrow and upright and yes bowls take up a lot of room on a shelf.