Friday 7 February 2014

New pots and runaway kilns

January has been spent trying to test yet more glazes while also battling with another hiccup - an 'out-of-control kiln'! Or should I say an 'intermittently out-of-control' kiln. At first we thought it was the controller,but then we decided that it was more likely to be the pyrometer. We tightened up the connections in the pyrometer, then fired the small top loading kiln EMPTY to try and catch it out.

 But annoyingly, of course this time it behaved itself. Next time I fired it with pots in, and guess what - the temperature controller started misreading and jumping about again. It means watching the cones like a hawk. Not knowing when it is going to go running off by itself means an anxious sleepless night, and a ten minute alarm throughout the morning. NOT conducive to building up confidence with glaze tests.

A new pyrometer arrived today - in three pieces. Honestly, you couldn't make it up. Hopefully a replacement will come on Monday and we will then be able to find out if it is indeed a faulty thermocouple . If things are still unreliable then it will point to the control box. Either way hopefully a resolution is round the corner. So there are still pots waiting to be glazed and stuck in a queue!

However I have started getting my teeth into making and I am at last on a good creative roll. I had been asked to remake a tall bird vase, one from a series a few years ago and which had been broken by some house removers. I don’t like to repeat  a past project but the client was very persuasive. Actually it has been good to do, as of course I made extras, which allowed me to play about a bit.

A new die is always a good stimulation, and I am now getting stuck in to some wavy wall vases. It’s just good to be underway and inspired. 

These were manipulated as they were extruded, and started to come to life when they were stood up on their edges.

The tall oval vase goes right through the wall so that it is actually taller than it looks.

This is the first 'arch vase', slipped and now drying out.

Then a second one with the vase offset, which gives it a more jaunty feel. So frustrations aside it has been a good couple of weeks.


  1. Fantastic ceramics, brilliantly executed with a quirky sense of humour. Will you be at Earth and Fire at Rufforth this year?

    1. Hello Enthusiastic Crafter! Cheers for the enthusiastic comment! Just to say sorry that I won't be at E and F. I found it all just too much sandwiched between Spring Fling and Potfest in the Park. But P in the Park is well worth a visit if you can make it.

  2. I love the arch vases. It is exciting what you do with extruded clay. Hope the run away kiln has been tamed. It sounds like it was developing its own primitive intelligence! A kiln with a mind of its own is a scary prospect!