Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nightmares from the past - what makes for a really bad day!

I spent an enjoyable hour today looking through some old albums for one particular photo of my husband trying a very unorthodox kiln firing technique, which I never did find. However, this group of photos surfaced, and it's a memory that I'm glad I don't think about every day - a major kiln fail that leaves one with a major sinking feeling in the heart, soul, and pocket book.

Pictured is our elevator kiln with what was 4+ levels of glazed field tiles, round and square caps, and mudbases. The kiln envelope is lowered onto the base for firing, and apparently the temperature probe got bent and pressed up against one of the shelves. This skewed the readings that were being fed to the computer causing the kiln to over-fire by quite a bit....

This photo shows a collapsed tile rack holding square caps and blue field tile that have fallen on top of them.

Here's the back side showing another rack with yellow square and round caps. The rack sits on a lovely misshapen set of large round shelves. They were rated to cone 10, so that's an idea of how hot it got in there. Under that warped mess are 3 more shelf levels that have square caps.

Here's a view of that large 1/2 shelf in an interesting shape. The clay body is a cone 6 porcelain, but glazed with a cone 01 glaze that melted right off the clay onto the shelves.

And this spongy mess.....well, this was a tile setter that was rated to cone 10, but since our porcelain field tile seemed to hold their shape better than this piece of tile furniture, I'm guessing it wouldn't have really passed the cone 10 test firing. However, we're quite sure the interior of this kiln easily made it to a teenager cone temperature.

The photo I was looking for was of my husband rigging up 2 Skutt kilns on their sides to try to fire a very large sample tile for Bill Gates......well, that's another story.

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Blogger Felicia Kramer said...

Ouch-ouch-ouch!!!!!! How devastating that must have been - so much work gone. I hope that doesn't happen often!!

September 27, 2010 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Linda Ellett said...

Hi Felicia - No, luckily it's only a once every ten10 year event, and this one was the Pompeii of kiln disasters! And - it happened back in 1998, so it's far enough away from us that both my husband and I laughed about it when we found these photos!

September 27, 2010 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger KieferClayworks said...

Ugh, that is a potter's worst nightmare. What a mess and expense and loss!

September 27, 2010 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Linda Ellett said...

Yeah, Steph, it was a nightmare, luckily a long ago one....but like I've said it is a once every ten year that puts us on notice!

September 27, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

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