Our class divided time between completing the construction of the kiln and finishing up final decorating touches on our cups. With two tasks to complete, there was little room for error. Inside, groups worked feverishly to finish the decorations on this final painting day. Professor Balachandran brought in a super concentrated slip, to be used for relief lines. She had allowed the slip to evaporate for 5-6 days. Groups were able to produce a super fine line with the linierhaar though we struggled with the single hair paintbrushes. In the midst of our excitement and eagerness to finish painting, some of our handles broke off! This was very disappointing, but we are taking it in stride, looking forward to a future lesson from Balachandran on how to use conservation materials to restore the handles to their original place.
Outside, we helped assemble the inner wall of the kiln and the perforated floor as well as the outer wall, made of brick. Matt and Cami had already built the foundation of the kiln into the ground behind the studio. There are two channels for airflow running across the bottom of the kiln, one under the firing chamber and one under the fuel chamber. We also filled in the space between the inner and outer walls with dirt, which will act as our insulating material. The parts of the kiln are joined together with wet fire clay, which Matt says will just bake into place as we use the kiln to fire our tiles and kylikes. Unlike our ancient counterparts, we will be using a digital pyrometer to monitor the temperature inside the 18-inch ware chamber. Moisture is an issue going into next week’s firings, as rain is forecasted! Hopefully this will not impact our firing. We will not be using a saggar box, because of the lack of space. This is probably the only area where we are deviating on from Kahn’s and Wissinger’s design.
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