Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Tips - Loading A Greenware Kiln

Wow... can't believe it's 5 pm already!!!  I have been searching all my links and references in an effort to be able to tell you guys where I got my information about loading a greenware kiln.  If I find it... I will definitely share it!  If any of you potters/ceramic artists out there can share the link if you know what I'm talking about.. PLEASE, feel free to leave it in the comments!  :)  Anyway... back to the tip of the week...

I read in a tutorial on loading an efficient greenware kiln, that heat conducts better through the items you are trying to heat up, rather than through air.  It's a phenomena called "radiant heat".  Ya know how when you are sick or your child is sick, and you put your hand on their forehead and it feels hot?  You are able to feel their rise in body temperature due to "radiant heat".  You have to be closer to feel it, and the longer you keep your hand there, they longer it feels.  Right?  Well, same idea.  After reading this article, I began stacking my greenware/bisque kilns a little differently.  Basically, I started piling stuff on top of each other, so long as they were the same shape and size.  what this means, is that I am firing my kiln less frequently (at least for greenware... aka a "bisque kiln").  This also means that I havea  tendency to accumulate lots of bisque fired pottery, because I cannot stacking similar items on top of one another in a glaze firing.... unless of course I want them to stick together.  Which in MOST cases.... I don't! :)  So here is my second shelf of greenware, waiting for the time when I fire it up to ^04 to bisque it.
WOW!  I was pretty impressed at how full this shelf is!  The starfish were created using a mold I created from a real starfish.  The itty bitty ones I am hoping I can make into earrings. :)  The bulky ones are destined to be ornaments... and not quite sure what I'm going to do with the large skinny one.  I just think it looks pretty cool.  :)

Ok.. so I know I've gotten off topic a little bit.. sorry.. that's how my brain works now. :-/  Hope you can follow!  haha  Basically...for greenware, I do my best to stack up similar pieces to get the radiant heat to help with whole process.  I have a fairly small kiln.  the round shelves are 15" round I believe...  And when I can, each and every shelf is jam packed like this.  When I fire it, I tend to fire it in the evenings, during low electrical usage times (not as $$$), and it takes anywhere from 9-10 hours, then another 9-10 hours to cool.  So it's a full day process.  However, when all is said and done, I have AT LEAST 2 full kilns worth of items to glaze fire.  For me, it helps to streamline the process.

I hope all that made sense.  How do YOU load your kiln?  Both bisque and glaze?  I would love to get input from other potters out there!

Until next time my friends!


  1. The idea of a full kiln is like a full refrigerator. It seems the fridge works better when full, so I would assume the same would be true for a kiln. And since it takes so long for the process, at least when you're finished, you have quite a bit of pieces to work with. I can't wait to see those starfish when they're complete!

    1. Thanks Kim! Should be by the end of this week!