Four Inch Bowls, Step 7. Glaze Firing.

So, the day has come. Your four inch bowl is ready for a proper firing, not just a ponsy low temperature bisquit firing.

This depends on your kiln of course. At Winchcombe we fire with wood and take it up to cone 10. The pyrometer read 1245 degrees when we closed it up in the last firing. Pyrometers are a guide but the cones are what you really need to pay attention to. This is difficult when they blow up or fall over as almost all of them did in this firing. Next time I will be making the cone packs more carefully!

The ideal for this kiln is to have cone 10 down, 11 bending and 12 tipping over a touch. When you have closed up the kiln the cones tend to move a little more.

Pictures from our firing earlier this week:

Packed and ready to be bricked up.

Close up of the cone pack before it blew up!

Smoke out the chimney, pallet full of wood ready for the second half of the firing.

Lower from spy hole.

Back firebox. Warm.

Pyrometer reading 1168 degrees.

Matt checking the top back spy hole. Reduction flame making the mask a necessity.

Matt cool as a cucumber, smoking despite the clouds of black smoke all around

"Hot rings, get your hot rings!"

Matt passing down test rings from the top back of the kiln to John.

John with Nenya and Vilya, the three Elvish Rings of power.

The firing gods sent us a messenger towards the end of the firing... a tiny mouse, eating a dry leaf.

 Once the top temperature is reached you have to block up the flue, close the fireboxes and wait. Ideally you want to let the kiln cool as slowly as possible-at least 2 days. This waiting time is probably the hardest part of the process.

Mike Sanderson who writes an extensive and most excellent website on pots of all sorts, Ceramike came on firing day. He has put up a set of pictures of the day including one of the lovely little mouse. Here's the link: