The past couple of posts I have been sharing about the commission I have been working on for Black River Entertainment. I have also mentioned that I am on a pretty strict time schedule since this order is needed on February 15, so I appreciate little to no “hiccups”. Well, instead of a hiccup, I had a full-blown head cold (no really, I do have an actual cold which I am completely ready to be done with)!
This is what happened: last week I was loading up the kiln to do a bisque fire, set the program and fired up the kiln. When I went out to check on the kiln about two hours later, I was stopped in my tracks to see that the kiln read “Err 1” (error 1). What in the world does that mean? I turned off the kiln and restarted the firing. When I came back to check on it a half hour later, it read Err 1 again. This time I unplugged the kiln and flipped the breaker on and off and tried a third time, but that brought me no luck either.
I then called Andrew to look up the kiln’s manual online and found it was too cold to fire the kiln! People keep kilns in garages year-long and still use them so I didn’t think this would be an issue. It turned out that a kiln is safe to keep in freezing weather and even use. Kilns can even read temperatures a low as -300 degrees! The programing panel has to be at least 32 degrees in order to actually fire, so I set up my little space heater about a foot away from the panel and turned it on high for about an hour. After the hour the kiln read 32 degrees (as opposed to the 20 it read before) and gave it a whirl. It worked! Who knew a space heater could save the studio!
I was starting to panic by the time I gave the space heater a try because if I could not fire the kiln, I was going to have to find a studio that would allow me to rent kiln space. That would actually be more stressful and increase the risk of breakage. I was, however, able to complete several firings and get back up to speed on my commissions. Such a relief! My test glaze firing came out great for the Black River commission and they will be glazed once I take them out of the bisque kiln (hopefully today).
The consistency of the black glaze came out great! This of course was a very quick glaze so the finished pieces will look refined and complete. All the candle pots are currently in the kiln cooling after a bisque fire and will be glazed in the next couple of days, hopefully without any more issues with the kiln.