Saturday, November 1, 2008

gas or electric?

The day has finally come to acquire my own kiln. No, the gas or electric question has nothing to do with my kitchen. That was an easy choice made years ago: out! with the electric coils and in! with the 6 burner, griddle and 2 oven Viking gas stove. No, it's time to set up a ceramics studio at home. With x-mas break looming - 8 long weeks until the Eagledale Art Center opens up again - panic has set in. I will no longer put up with pottery withdrawal syndrome. Off to craigslist it is then. Thankfully there are plenty potters who dabble in muck and mud for a while only to realize that you can't strike it rich being a potter and eventually give up. Today's CL has no fewer than 8! kilns waiting for new owners. That's not even counting the one (electric kiln) I'm going to look at tomorrow - guess they think they've sold it to me already. Maybe, maybe not. I looked at a gas kiln last week, but I'm sitting on the fence. Up till now I had fired all my pots in a cone 10 gas kiln, with great results. But a handbuilt piece - I call it the "are-you-coming-or-going?-goat", had me worried that it wouldn't survive the gas kiln. My incredibly resourceful instructor Sherri Grossbauer suggested I fire it in the electric kiln. I knew that I didn't like the way the glaze (Pinell Strontium Blue, aka Weathered Bronze) turned out in cone 5, so we tried cone 6. To great result! So here we go with my dilemma. To gas or to electric? The gas firing process seems daunting, but I love so many glazes that need the reduction you can only get in a gas kiln. On the other hand, this glaze is beautiful in either kiln AND my pieces will shrink less. I guess I will make up my mind tomorrow!