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anyone kiln issues in firing a large fountain

updated sun 9 apr 06


Llewellyn Kouba on thu 6 apr 06

I am in the think-tank with a fountain process and would like to make
the base of my fountain with dimensions of 22 inches wide by say 3.5
feet long. Now if I move all the kiln shelves together and or have the
fountain base sitting across 3 shelves with those being 2 inches apart
or even if the shelves are put together tight my issue is: I will only
have flow around the perimeter of the (item) shelves. Will I be choking
off the air flow too much or will the clay fountain base fire out OK in
bisque and again in glaze. My plan is to build two sections with some
sculptural elements and when assembled in the end might make a fountain
approx 4 feet tall. Maybe it would be advisable to raise the first row
of shelves up off the kiln bed to allow for extra air flow that the
bottom of the vessel is going to take away from the kiln air and fire
flow. I am wanting to build this thing to the max pretty much and yet
wonder how it would all heat. I also thought I would build right on the
kiln bed as the item could be too heavy and risky to move. I would use
electric kiln while the gas kiln item dried with the help of fans to get
it done ASP. The wall vessel walls would be one inch thick. Any gurus
out there who may have tried to fire an object that just fits the kiln
bed with little else room. The down draught kiln air moved under the
stack of course and along the sides. Under would be pretty well plugged
off but maybe some on the side. Does this cinario sound plausible?

Llewellyn Kouba
Abbey Pottery

katetiler on sat 8 apr 06

Hi Llewellyn - I've just had to revise a tile project because I pushed
it to the max & changed too many factors at once, resulting in total
breakage of every peice I made!

I tried to make tile panels 18 inches by 12 inches, which diagonally
meant that they measured 21 inches tip to tip, in my 22 inch diameter
round kiln... everything seemed as though I might have gotten away
with it at the biscuit stage - white grogged eathenware fired to
1040C, but when I glazed to 1120C every panel shattered into either
two or three peices.

I was using a new tool - a clay roller, which I hadn't used before,
new clay, white grogged eathenware with a higher firing range than I
usually use, a new technique, pressing plants into the surface which
left deep indentations with the stems, and then painting with
underglazes, again which I'd not used before. I rolled the clay too
thin & just pushed everything too far in order to try & achieve the
effect I wanted.

3 months in I had to stop & redo the whole thing in thicker, 6 inch
tiles, another 3 months work. Big learning experience for me.

If you have the time to be able to redo the whole project if you get
similar problems, you can take similar risks to the ones I took, but
try to minimise them by using appropriate clay & giving yourself time
to dry everything well etc.

This website has very good examples of outdoor ceramic works with a
good 'hints & tips' page with firing schedules etc on:

I don't know the people personally but the work is very high standard.

Good luck!