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cone 10 electric-all kilns equal? - why i fire to ^9.

updated sun 10 apr 05


Paulette Carr on sat 9 apr 05

I fire to ^9 in an electric kiln. I would like to offer an explanation
of why I would "waste my precious time and costly electricity" to fire
so high in a top-loading electric kiln. My aesthetic has never been a
wood-fired aesthetic, but rather the work of Lucie Rie. I wanted to
brush my glazes, and explore the glazes that I could produce in
electric kiln firings, all the while hoping that I could obtain what I
saw in my mind's eye. My choice to work at high fire was dictated
simply by the clay that I chose. It matures without slumping at ^9.
Because I handbuild, make tiles, and sculpture, I needed a toothy clay
that would not warp, was strong and vitreous and light in color. After
many months - maybe a year- of searching and testing, I settled on
Tuckers White Sculpture. Subsequently, I have spent several years
developing glazes that fit this clay body, and my aesthetic. Now that
I have put in all the ground work, my work is going forward at an
increasing pace, and as you can imagine, I am very pleased. I often
think of moving to ^6, but then I remember all the time and effort --
maybe years -- that will be required. I am unwilling to start all over
again, with no promise that I will like what I find -- unless of
course, I am no longer able to work this way.

The work has never been about efficiency or economy of scale or
conservation, though I do make money at this. It has always been about
my aesthetic vision, and wanting to produce the work myself. We all
make compromises ... I wanted a kiln in which to fire my work, in the
manner I wished without limits/rules from others... the best kiln that
I could afford, and one that would fit in the door of my studio. Maybe
I will do it differently in my next life.

Besides, like Sam, I have been exploring the world of high fire glazes
from John Britt's book, under my conditions. There are some things
that just require the heat work! And yes, I am getting Iron Reds --
one with some oilspots at this temperature
Details will follow in a future post. I stand with Wes, Sam, and I am
sure, others on this. There are many reasons for choosing a path, and
paying the price ...

My best,
Paulette Carr
Paulette Carr Studio
Member/Potters Council
St. Louis, MO