Now that the weather is warmer and less damp, and especially now that I replaced my kiln relay and it’s working right, I can luster fire again. I use Beato, my trusty little Paragon Home Artist 120. She’s named after Beatrice Wood (long story for another time.) The chamber is only 9″ x 9″ but it has a retractable handle and wheels so I can wheel it outside whenever I need to. When I first got it I was so frustrated about its size, but it’s amazing the amount and size of work that comes out of her and I actually am more productive since I don’t have to wait until I have alot of ware to fill her up. Also, firing her is no big deal and I can do everything myself, no huge firing event extravaganza that goes on from the crack of dawn til the wee hours with tons of people tripping over each other and bickering over how to do things the right way. (or dropping and breaking a piece)
Really all I need is 24 hours of dry weather above 40 degrees F, preferably no wind, to stay up a couple hours past my bedtime to light the kiln and close the lid an hour later, and alot of coffee in the morning. I usually start the kiln at 10pm, close the lid at 11 then throw the sticks and mothballs in to finish by 8:30am the next day. Easy peasy.
Here’s Beato wearing her “Beato hut” as the kiln cools. Once it reaches 300 degrees F, I turn on the electric oven in my studio (very handy to heat ware to raku or slow cool it after firing btw) to 300 degrees, take the pieces out and put them in there quick as a bunny before they cool too much. After about 20 minutes I turn off the oven and let them cool to room temperature. That way I can put the kiln back inside so it doesn’t have to stay out all night. Leave no trace.
Here’s Beato in her hut and the ware still cooling in the kiln. It should be ready to come out in about an hour or so. Fire at breakfast, unload at lunch, look at me I’m doing dishes!