Sunday, May 16, 2021


Some of you have been readers of this blog for a loooong time - maybe you remember that time I built a soda kiln in my backyard. That kiln has served me well, but now it's time for an upgrade. 

11 years is not a ridiculously short life for a kiln, and it is true that soda is harder on brick than salt is. Nevertheless, this kiln would have lasted longer if I had chosen a heavier gauge of angle iron for the exoskeleton. I'm very glad I had the experience of building it myself, but I found when I contemplated the rebuild I was just dreading it. UGH LIFTING HEAVY THINGS UGH BRICK DUST IN MY EYES 

I knew it would take me most of the summer - time that I would much rather spend making pots. With that in mind, I decided to call in an expert: Tyler Gulden. In addition to making pots & teaching at Bates College, Tyler is a master kiln builder! You can see a few of the projects he has worked on here

Worked with Tyler at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, back in 2006, & we've been friends for years. Every time someone tells me they want to build a kiln, I send them his way, because not only is he the best - this is not a glow up, he really is - but his rates are crazy low, compared to other kiln builders. 

So excited about this kiln! It will be modelled on the soda kiln at Watershed, with some adjustments necessary for the different fuel & pressure. The stacking space will be almost twice that of my current kiln, and - the very best upgrade of all - the door will be on a hinge. You know that feeling when you're like WOO-HOO, DONE LOADING followed immediately by oh crap still gotta brick up? Yeah well that's all over for me (after these next 2 firings, at least.) The additional cost is pretty minimal - about half a day of labor - and when you factor in the cost of replacing broken door brick & the time mixing door mud, bricking & mudding up every time - it is more than a bargain. 

Here's the kiln design it will be based on. Now imagine a sliding-hinge door!

In the meantime, I am squeezing out two more firings before deconstruction begins. Tine to get making! 

1 comment:

Michèle Hastings said...

That is exciting! Our dream is a door on hinge as well. Such a time saver.