Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ending with a Whimper - 5th Firing Oct 2011

I was keeping my fingers crossed that the warm weather would hold until I could do another firing at the end of Oct. It did but the day ended up extremely windy and with all the leaves off the trees the kiln was exposed to the full brunt of the wind whipping through the valley. Maybe that was part of the problem as I could not get that typical chug chug sound from the primary air inlets, instead the flames would come out every time an extra strong gust of wind would blow, but no sound. It was like the wind would blow down through the chimney and out the primary air holes, reversing the normal flow. I have always associated the chugging with reduction. Whatever the reason the results were a real blow to my esteem - no reduction at all,  no chuns, barely any celadons and no carbon trapping - the shinos with the character of a white fish belly. I had also decided not to load the last section - felt that it might help in bringing up the temperature in the middle. 
Last section shelving sloping down to the flue to try and direct the flame lower  in the earlier sections as I find that the top is always a lot hotter and has a lot more ash.

Tall shino pots loaded in the middle section. I did another pot with the tethered dove theme. I love making large bottle forms but they do not sell very well.

The chuns blue (Jun 4 over Temmoku) ended up just a shiny brown, the butternut bowls grey, the ones on the left a grey transparent that should have had a hint of blue green and the ones on the right were supposed to be a darker celadon blue-green.

The bottom front section - the two small bottles on the left were the only ones with some nice orange flashing, but that was probably due to the fact that I brushed them with ash water and soda water first. All the shinos were mostly just a pale beige.

Anyway blocking the last section and trying to get the flames lower did not work - the bases of my tall pieces were all unfired compared to the tops. The tail end of the kiln was colder than normal compared to the front - again leaving out the pots in that section did not seem to help either. Anyway I will have all winter to try and figure out what I did wrong and to gear up enough energy to repeat the firings again in the spring.


  1. Just got my internet back after a spell without. Looks way underfired. Maybe too loosely packed? I find that the wind makes my kiln go hotter and faster. If the flames come out the top of the firebox it is because they can't get through the kiln-ember bed too high. I wouldn't worry about firing in the cold weather...-10 C no problem, just cold to be hanging around all day.
    Better luck next time!!

  2. Hi Claudia - thanks for the info - I too think that maybe I need to stack more tightly - but then I find that it is hard to side stoke. My side stoke holes are just about 18 inches or so apart. I really need to rebuild.