Bristol School of Art – The Gas Kiln Fired at Last

Following on from the previous post… Today we opened our gas kiln on a new load of reduced stonewares for the first time for two years. The kiln was built in 1978 and failed its gas safety checks almost two years ago. After much patience it has been reconditioned to as new condition (well almost). We reckon it has done approximately 1000 firings over the years, most of them reduced stonewares at cone 8 (1260-1280 oC). We are logging this firing in the new kiln book as #1001. The last jobs over it was packed on Thursday last week ready to get firing on Monday. Because it has been out of use for so long, we had to do a bit of judicious brick placing and glaze a range of odds and ends to fill spaces.

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Liz and John willing the kiln to reach temperature before John’s bus goes!

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Cone 7 over and 8 starting to go – 1250Cish. Liz’s head-pot glows in the flame. Photo John Astley.

We used the firing records from the most recent firing and the first one from 1978 as guidance. The changes to the bag walls, the chimney and the airflow in the room itself were a concern but in the end the kiln behaved pretty much as before – we could have done with an extra half-hour. 8.5 hours to 1250C at the top. The 1240 cone stayed upright so a bit cool there. Opening the kiln was saved for Wednesday when the largest number of potters were around. Below are some photos of the pack and some of the pots we produced. We have photographed the unpacking carefully. It has all been very exciting and we now need to sit down and go through the results and the photos and work out what changes we need to make – the seals on the spy holes need attention for a start.

Doors open. The pack as first seen. The cool area to the bottom is obvious. The glaze colours look good though and the reductions appears fairly even.

Doors open. The pack as first seen. The cool area to the bottom is obvious. The glaze colours look good though and the reductions appears fairly even.

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Liz and Bridget are itching to stop taking photos and get the pots out!

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Liz William’s head-pot. Our Shino glaze often gives this grey when directly in the flame.

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One of Jeremy Baines big handbuilt jars. These semi-matt glazes are muted and soft in oxidation and develop rich colour variations in reduction. The change left to right here is quite pleasing but indicates variation in the kiln atmosphere.

DQ/S is one of our barium/copper blues and works well in reduction producing a lot of odour variation. These were fired at the top (front) and bottom (rear) of the kiln. (my pots)

DQ/S is one of our barium/copper blues and works well in reduction producing a lot of odour variation. These were fired at the top (front) and bottom (rear) of the kiln. (my pots)

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