New kiln on the block
December 31, 2008 by cynthia
Whew. My kiln problems–I’ve been essentially kilnless since July–are about to be resolved. FINALLY.
I won’t go into the full saga–it’s a sad and pitiful tale that hasn’t completely ended even yet–but yesterday I ordered a new kiln. It won’t be the intelligent kiln of my dreams, not at first, but the door’s open for expansion in that direction. And it’s a bit radical, as least as far as glass casting is concerned, so I’ll still have plenty to experiment with.
The kiln is coming from Olympic and will be here in three weeks. After months of searching through ovens that did everything from making bricks to baking pizza, I discovered that Olympic already made a ceramic kiln amazingly close to the casting kiln I had in mind. They were a bit surprised at what I proposed, I think, but extremely accommodating about making the changes I needed for a reasonable price.
Lots to do before then, including getting an electrician out here to expand my studio circuit box. (When I moved into this house I had a second box installed just for glass equipment–it’s been a lifesaver more times than I can count)
And I’ve decided to hang onto Bertha, my poor old worn-out Skutt GM-1414. My friend Les reminded me that Skutt’s been working on a new controller that might help Bertha get through lengthy casting cycles without breaking down every nine months. I spoke with the very nice guys over there and they’ll revamp things for me at a surprisingly low cost.
Bertha’s still too shallow for about half the stuff I do (or any of the casting collaborations I suddenly find myself being asked to do), and her busted lid makes a lot of things problematic. Still, she’ll be a good kiln for flatter castings such as the pate de verre portraits and my interminable color and texture samples, as well as the tackfuses or even the rare flat-fused piece. Besides, it never hurts to have a kiln to experiment on–I saw one experimental casting configuration a couple months ago that would be interesting to try…
So, after six months of no kilns A-tall, in about a month I’ll have TWO kilns…assuming I can figure out where to put them. That may be an even bigger challenge.