Kiln loading !

There is an art to loading a kiln.  When you’re a sculptural artist everything has a different shape so it starts to be like a three dimensional puzzle. My profits depend on how much I can squeeze into a run, space is precious and it influences how much I charge for each piece – tall pieces are the most expensive because they limit everything else I can fire, small pieces I can fit in between the big pieces make nice promotional pieces to send along with my packages or $5 snap purchases at a market table to be enjoyed by kids, do it yourself jewelry makers or the thrifty.

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So you use the large pieces to lay out how you will use the shelf. This kiln only has 18 inch shelves and as you can see I really cram everything I can, but there are gaps –

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Which in this case I filled in with some small beads. I lifted each bowl and surrounded the base with beads, lowered the piece and used a pencil to adjust the beads not to touch the bowl. This takes time, but again space is a premium with such a small kiln, the goal is to have about $2k of goods in each run. The rest of the time I fill in with miniatures but this load is entirely stoneware. On the next shelf I had some of my pajama animals which are top heavy. So in this case I space them a bit because it’s hard to balance them, this is a big reason I charge $20 for these guys, they take as much room as a trinket bowl even though they take less time to make than a bowl.

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And if I don’t give them room, they can act like dominoes and instead of one ruined piece I could lose a half dozen, notice too that I face them away from the bigger more expensive sheep figurines so that they will fall away from them. Not that I expect them to fall… but they can and it pays to be mindful when loading a kiln. The kiln has two more very full shelves after this, and I will hopefully have a kiln opening entry here!

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