Lily Krakowski on mon 2 sep 02
Long ago in a letter to Ceramics Monthly I laid out my views of this
question. I do not hesitate to repeat.
Essentially it is the difference between Mercy and Justice. High fired
reduction is a delight, a costly one to be sure, because it is so gracious
and forgiving. As Michael Cardew writes " There are certain subtleties and
qualities of colour, texture and depth which wood-firing, properly
managed,will give you as a free gift. I do not doubt that this glow of life
in pots and glazes can also be obtained by using other fuels. but I am sure
it is much easier to achieve it with wood. WHEN YOU UNPACK AN ELECTRIC KILN
ANY FAULTS IN THE WORK, WHETHER OF TECHNIQUE OR EXPRESSION, WILL BE
DISPLAYED AND AND STATED CLEARLY, COOLY AND UNMISTAKABLY; AND IF, FEARING
THIS CANDID EXPOSURE, YOU HAVE TRIED TO INDUCE ARTIFICIALLY SOME OF THE
ACCIDENTAL BEAUTIES OF WOOD-FIRING, THIS ELEMENT OF MAKE-BELIEVE WILL ALSO
BE MERCILESSLY EXHIBITED IN THE RESULT." (Capitalization mine)
To put it cruelly. An electric kiln is like a klieg light. A reduction
kiln like candlelight. Ask any aging woman which she would prefer to disrobe
by. You got it!
I always have worked at c. 6 because it is practical and economical. Before
electronic kilns, and kiln sitters the time saved kiln-watching was worth
it. I can sell my pots for less, because I spend less on fuel. Cone 6
produces pots as durable as higher fired ones. It can capture the look of
majolica, or that of higher fired stoneware. It is very very versatile.
While in this country electric firing and c.6 are kinda looked down upon, in
Britain some of the best known potters--Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Emmmanuel
Cooper, Eileen Lewenstein--all fire electrically. I do think they fire
higher than c.6--but it is perfectly possible to make gorgeous pots at c. 6
You will have to change the finish of your pots, some of their mood; shapes
remain the same.
As this is Labor/Labour Day, let me try for a simile. I am going to put my
straw hats away tomorrow, and take out my felt ones. "For that is the law
of the jungle, Mowgli." Shortly I will exchange my cotton jackets for
tweed ones, my sandals for boots. I will still be the same person, and
still make the same "statement" with my style of dress. The same in a sense
applies to the temperature change you plan. It is up to you to maintain the
look you want. You can do it.
All my life I have fired at c.6 simply because it is economical, it is
practical (before these electronic kilns and kiln sitters, the time saving
saved nerves as well). Not suprisingly, I have not produced the effects
achieved by c. 10 reduction. I have produced effects I love, pots that
sell, and worked out ideas that make me happy. I need hardly add that
because I do not fire so high my pots can sell for less. A fuel saving is a
In this country electric kiln firing has been sort of sneered at. Yet in GB
Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Emmanuel Cooper, and Eileen Lewenstein to mention
just four very famous electric firers have created lovely lovely pots. I do
think they fired/fire higher than c. 6, but they do prove that electric
firing is not a social disgrace.
You will not have to rethink shape. You will have to rethink finish,
As it is Labor Day (Labour to Brits and Canadians)
Catherine White writes:
> Please let us know online. I'm thinking of making the switch from ^10 to ^6
> in a few months.
> Catherine in Yuma, AZ
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Bob Hanlin"
> Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2002 8:48 PM
> Subject: Cone 10 Redux to Cone 6 Ox...Who's made the switch?
>> Have you made the switch from cone 10 reduction to Cone 5 oxiditation?
>> If you have, let me know (on list or off) what your experiences are,
>> I'm considering making the change and would like to know the upside and
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