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The 6 steps of creating functional & decorative stoneware pottery
ThrowingApplying Surface DecorationTrimmingBisque FiringGlazingFinal Firing

6. Glaze Firing / Unloading

All of my work is fired in a gas-powered kiln at Bethel College (Kirk Freeman, the Ceramics Professor at the school, has the “once-a-teaching-assistant-always-a-teaching-assistant” point of view and generously allows folks like myself the opportunity to utilize their studio).

Typically a kiln will be loaded and started the night before a firing for slow warm up, fired off throughout the day (upwards of 2300 degrees), cooled off over night, and unloaded the next day.

Unloading is essentially a mini-Christmas -- hunting and pecking through a slew of pots to find your work -- hoping and praying that “the good ones” made it through without blemishes, that the thin ones made it through without warping, and that those few creative glaze combinations turned out as planned.

It never fails - your favorite piece before the firing is not your favorite after the firing, one or two pieces shock you with unexpected, and often beautiful, glaze reactions, and you’re only truly happy with about 60-70% of the work that comes out of the kiln. There’s gotta be a parallel to life in there somewhere... ;)

Finished bowl - click to access details in the gallery

Finding treats like this one is what makes opening the kiln a Christmas-like experience.

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