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small kilns, machismidiots

updated fri 2 may 03


Elizabeth Priddy on thu 1 may 03

I have fired in gas car kilns, laaarge Anagama, large electric, raku, regular large gas, and wood kilns. I am not ignorant of the options. I liked raku, but did it for four years and moved on. I want to build some pits now that I have land. But that is for entertainment and education, for work I choose small electric. Specifically, I choose two smallish L&L kilns. They use the same interchangable furniture. They are in ring sections that make it easy for me to make the kilns even smaller for testing or one large odd piece.They are easy to repair, although in 12 YEARS of consistent use, I have had to replace only one element and I destroyed it with a raw glaze firing incident (my fault). I fit about $1000 wholesale worth of labor intensive painted work in each kiln load. That is enough risk per load. I would rather fire a little more often than risk more product than that in power failure, human error, bad untested glaze, ugly design, etc. I am not perfect and certainly h
ave an inner idiot. I foil that idiot by keeping the scale of risk at a manageable level. I don't want 2 months of work in one kiln. I would die of anxiety. You need to know where you lie on the st
ress capacity scale before choosing your kiln. I open them hot-years of raku convinced me that hot is ok. If you are one of those potters with a perpetual singed eyebrow look, maybe you need a smaller kiln, too...They cool faster. I had used all the other kilns before choosing to stay small and electric. I like the control and the color. I fire to cone 7. Make an informed and appropriate decision. Don't succomb to macho bullshit. Fire the way YOU want. Bigger is not always better, affordable, appropritate or reasonable. Don't buy Big Gulps. Nobody needs that much Mountain Doo....

Elizabeth Priddy
Beaufort, NC

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