Friday, July 16, 2010
The analytical part of my brain started counting imaginary beans, I mean pots, today. What size work will fit in my new kiln efficiently. Should I make work to fit on the shelves? Should I keep making pieces as the inspirations strike me and let the pots fit willy-nilly? There's always a consideration of making what might sell.
Then I was pleasantly distracted by a green anole lizard crawling on the screen of my studio window. He came by yesterday too. I waited for him to crawl on the window to get a better photo, but he never did. I did catch him with his red dewlap extended. Be sure to click on his photo to see his eye, the texture of his skin, and the pads on his toes; lizards are so wondrous to observe.
What about you? Do you have a grid of your shelf size and do you make work to fit on it. Some time ago I remember Meredith saying she has ware racks which correspond to the size of her kiln shelves. I think that is the most efficient method of determining how much work will fit in a kiln load.
This analysis all came about because today I decided to make a really tall vase. I can't go any taller than about 16 inches and get a piece to fit in my new kiln. The challenge of making a vase this tall was fun. When I was looking for a place to dry it, it was a problem. All my drying shelves are a maximum of about 13 inches. The top shelf is taller, but hard for me to reach and I didn't want to risk climbing a step stool with this vase to put it on top. I decided the bottom of a kitchen cabinet would do. Then I started thinking about firing the vase.
By the way I used this plastic tube as a form to hold up the tall vine vase till I got it together. The guys who tinted our windows with wind resistant film left the form for me to use. I just spray it with WD40 and wrap the clay around it. Then when the seam is pressed together and the clay firms up a bit I slide the form out. PVC pipe can also be used in the same manner. Don't leave the form in too long or the seam will open back up again. I once left a dowel in a vase over night. In the morning I had to pull like heck to get the dowel out of the vase. The clay had shrunk around the dowel.
I could fire almost 30 of these vases in one kiln load. That's a lot of the same vase. Or I could fire 15 and have three half shelves and fire other sized pieces on those shelves. That seems more reasonable. I can't see myself making 30 vases that are sixteen inches tall all in a row. Than again maybe that's more efficient.
I have a lot of tall vases I've made recently but most are about ten to thirteen inches tall. I can't fit another shelf in the kiln if they are 13 inches tall, nine inches maybe. More for my brain to ponder as I work with clay, day to day. When I showed Gary my outline of pots on kiln shelves and told him about the numbers of pots which could fit, he said he was glad he wasn't a potter. Comments, suggestions, and questions are welcome.