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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.

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 –

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.

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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