The Dismal Shards of…Defeat!


Two days ago I eagerly put new greenware into my new-but-old kiln, closed the lid, flipped the switch to High, and went away for a few hours. Upon my return I switched the kiln off and pulled out the lower peephole-stopper. The glow was red-orange, the pyrometric cone was not in front of the peephole where I’d put it, and there was a shard of broken ware in view. Something terrible had happened.


The next day, the kiln having cooled, I opened the lid to find the bowl, the mug and the box had all shattered at their bases. The lid to the box, though skewed atop the box itself, was intact. But what good is a lid without what it is lid to?


My best guess as to what happened is I had not waited long enough for my ware to be completely bone dry. There is a valuable lesson here. The trouble is, I keep RElearning it–and then reverting.


Friends, be patient with your ware, with your friends, with your issues. Do the right thing, and in its right time. Don’t let this happen to you! [sad face]

PS–bonus points and bragging rights to anyone who knows what title the title of this post is based on. [smiley face]

  1. Love the title, poet that you are! Astrologically we are in a “mercury retrograde” phase at this time. That is when you get to “review” and see what works and what doesn’t! Sounds like you are on the path to solving that for future projects in clay anyway…I am always interested to see what pops up during these ” opportunities for review”. I suspect my woes with WordPress may be trying to get me to “look at something”.. LOL! Huffington Post has a great article!

    • Thanks so much. Read and enjoyed the Mercury Retrograde article. I like that it gives us all kinds of reasons for NOT doing stuff–sort of a “get out of jail free” card for awhile. But I humbly suggest that my mishap occurred not because Mercury was in Retrograde, but that my kiln was in Centigrade. [smiles]

  2. Hi Gary, If your kiln is like mine (fully manual with no controller) then you need to slowly raise the temperature in stages, otherwise your pieces will break. My bisque firings take at least 12 hours (with a 6 hour warm up on the lowest setting overnight first) and then is left to cool for a further 12 hours. My glaze firings can take anything up to 24 hours and a further 24 to cool down. Hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.

    • Thanks very much for your input, Juliet! I agree that it would be better to do some warming up prior to the High setting. I have had a prior successful bisque firing without a warming up, but “better safe than sorry.”

      I had a look at your raku post. Beautiful work!

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