Monday, March 5, 2012

Like Christmas Morning

How is opening a kiln like Christmas morning?  Well, strangely, it is.  When I fire up the kiln, I usually candle it slowly, with a three to five hour warm up period.  This means that each firing can take up to 16 hours.  Most kiln loads are mixed loads of bisque ware, and glaze ware.  Sometimes, I put student work (3rd graders) into the kiln.  Sometimes, I'm even forcing the student work to dry quickly.  Because each load contains finished work, it's always difficult to wait for the results.

Our family celebrated Christmas with some annual traditions.  On Christmas Eve, we were allowed to open only one present.  I believe that this is actually a Danish custom.  On Christmas morning, we had to get dressed before heading in to the Christmas tree (and to our presents).  There was a sense of anticipation that built from that one unwrapped gift on Christmas Eve.

Each time I fire up the kiln, I feel the same sense of anticipation.  I can't wait to see how the glazing and the decoration turns out.  The kiln becomes a giant present, just waiting to be ripped open.  It's hard to be patient, and to wait until it cools from 2,000 degrees down to 100 degrees.  In fact, it's physically impossible NOT to open the lid and look inside.  Peek holes are helpful in that respect!  Sometimes, I find myself standing in the garage, in my pajamas.  Then, it looks a lot like Christmas morning to me!

You might notice that the temperature in the first photo is 297 degrees.  It has got to cool a bit more.  In the second picture, even Betty the dog is waiting.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, crud, I sometimes open mine much hotter than that and look in. Not to steer you wrong, but I know of folks who 'crash cool' by opening it at over 500 degrees for just 30 seconds or so. (Can you hear the glazes cracking?) I'm not that bad (oh, wait, I can be) but since they crack the big Cabrillo kiln anywhere at 300 or below, I feel entitled. (and OH....a Skutt electronic with a lid lifter: SO jealous!) And yes to Christmas morning syndrome EVERY firing!


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