We took a week to go visit my brother and his family in the town where I grew up- Los Alamos, New Mexico.

After spending some fun and relaxing time with my extended family soaking up the gorgeous mountain scenery and air, and discovering lots of prehistoric pot shards at the Indian ruins, I am ready to hit the studio again!  Yes, we left the pot shards there.  It’s really REALLY bad juju to take artifacts from their resting places- everyone knows that! Not to mention that it’s against the law…

First on the agenda:  Firing.  Those squishy cups I threw last week are nice and bone dry and ready to be cooked.  So, we have…

The Squishy Saga:  Episode 2:  Firing

Loading the kiln- I didn’t grab the camera until I put the third layer of squishies in, but it’s pretty repetitive so you didn’t miss anything:

Those four little triangular or square posts will hold up the next shelf.  They are 4 inches high.  Here is the shelf full:

And on goes one shelf:

And the other:

I’ll skip to the last layer of squishies.  There are no posts in this layer, since this is the 5th and final layer of shelves.

I was able to fit 121 squishies into this firing.  Oh, and two mugs.  See them back there?  Here is the whole kiln:

I write everything down in a log every time I fire the kiln (remind me to take that binder off before I turn the kiln on; otherwise it will be vaporized by the end of the firing!)

And finally, I program the new firing into the kiln and turn it on!

Now, I have to be patient.  A typical bisque firing (the first of two firings that most pottery goes through) goes slowly and takes about 12-13 hours for my kiln.  This is an extra full load so it may take longer.  In a bisque firing, temperatures have to be increased gradually to slowly evaporate any water that may be in the clay or the piece might explode from steam buildup.  Once the bisque temperature has been reached ( around 1950 degrees), the kiln will automatically shut off, but it takes another 18-24 hours to cool before I can open the kiln.

 

Next:  The Squishy Saga:  Episode 3:  Glazing and firing