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new member, disappointinting kiln load, looking for potter contact

updated fri 22 aug 03


Patti on tue 19 aug 03

I'm new to this whole format, but after cracking the kiln and feeling
disappointed at the color of the load I just wanted to contact other
potters. I have a whole support group of artists but I am the only
Yes, it's a solitary life in the studio. I won't whine cuz I know I'm
blessed to be able to live this livestyle. And I know that there's a
chance that once I get into the kiln there will be some magnificent pots on
another shelf. So while I wait for it to cool off I decided to check out
this website. My disappointment is that the glaze is more matt than I
wanted it to be. I fire cone 6 in an electric kiln. Often I get the same
glaze to be more matt in the bottom of the kiln and shinier at the top. I
have used witness cones and the temperature is pretty close to the same top
and bottom. I'm thinking it has something to do with retaining the heat.
I have a Cress kiln with 3 inch firebrick. This particular load was tight
with a lot of plates for a dinnerware set. I was there when the cone
sitter tripped and I put the top peep in right away. Any input or
suggestions out there?
Sometimes I think I need another outlet for my creative energy to balance
the claywork, something immediate where I don't have to wait to fill the
kiln and where so much work is dependent on 1 firing.
Look forward to hearing from some of you out there in the clay world.

Burness Speakman on wed 20 aug 03

Dissapointments are normal. Something one has to live with. What is in the
minds eye and what the clay wants is two different things. You might try
putting a layer of transparant gloss over the item you fired and fire it
one more time though. I fire things over if they do not look like what i
thought they should. The refiring helps one to become more flexible with an
outcome. Used to do this a lot until I found the glazes that reacted the
same all the time.


Leslie Laurent on thu 21 aug 03

Hi Patti,

Welcome to ClayArt.

you say:
>Often I get the same glaze to be more matt in the >bottom of the kiln and shinier at the top. I
>have used witness cones and the temperature is >pretty close to the same top
>and bottom. I'm thinking it has something to do >with retaining the heat.
>I have a Cress kiln with 3 inch firebrick. This >particular load was tight ....

I had this experience last year. The only
difference was that I have a Skutt - also with
3" brick and was making tiles. The kiln was very
tightly loaded with the tiles and tile setters
and I was consistently getting matt results on the
bottom shelf.

It took me a while to realize it was the slow
cool but I was also having pin holes and blisters
from insufficient oxygen during the bisque. Boy
those kilns are tight! To speed up the cool
on the bottom of the kiln, I put the tile setters
up on posts, loaded the kiln less tightly and
fired with the top and and 3rd from the top peep

A kiln vent would have gone a long way
towards solving both those problems - or preventing
them. I finally got a
clue about the bisque problem from a Ron Roy
post to Clayart and BINGO! I knew I needed a kiln vent. Since my kiln is outside in a metal shed, I thought there was no point.

On refiring I never could the the matt tiles more
glossy - only the glossy ones more matt.

You mentioned you were making plates, I think
it was in the viscosity section of Hamer - they
mention that dinnerware mfrs have a different glaze
for plates and platters because of the way glazes
behave on a flat surface vs a vertical surface.
And boy are they right.

Grass Valley, CA

big rattlesnake curled around the clay bag
yesterday. There's a reason folks wear boots
in 95 degree weather!

Patti on thu 21 aug 03

Hi Arnold,
I put 1 set of cones at the top peep and one at the bottom. They both show
cone 5 laying flat, cone 6 is a perfect end point and cone 7 is at about 2
oclock. As I unloaded the rest of this particular kiln load, the top shelf
was the only one that was particlarly matt. It probably was loaded too
high with plates and never got to temp. But I always have the problem of a
couple of my glazes being too matt if they are loaded on the bottom couple
of shelves. I fire with the top peep out for the entire firing and then
put it in as soon as I can after the kiln sitter trips. Any suggestions?
Thanks for responding.