Monday, February 27, 2017


I think it is safe to say that when it comes to pottery, I have been around the block and then some. I have worked at a variety of places/facilities, with a number of well known potters and have fired from cone 06 all the way up to cone 12 and with all of that experience I must admit, I thought I had seen just about everything that can, would, should and shouldn't go wrong but recently I was reminded, there is always another surprise just around the corner.  Illustrated is my small kiln which I use to run tests in up to cone 9 and well the contents of the kiln "need some explaining". I will start by saying that the contents was at one time a teabowl fresh out of the bisque, freshly glazed and in the kiln to dry the glaze, the bowl was thrown out of a blend I make myself and have used off and on for over 20 years. I decided to make up my own porcelain grog and that was wedged in to the clay which came out of the bisque perfectly intact at which time, using glaze tongs, I glazed the bowl in my Oribe glaze.
So far the only variable is the grog and as you can see the bowl while in the kiln, which was off but warm just simply self-destructed. Please bear in mind, only moments before this mishap, I used the glaze tongs to dip the bowl which acted and felt just like normal bisque and then this moment when it seems like total molecular cohesion ceased to exist and the bowl just opened up like a flower opening its petals but with a bit less grace and beauty! Obviously I was shocked and am still trying to figure out what exactly happend as two other teabowls from the same firing were glazed and fired with no ill effect though neither had any grog in them which was simply made up of broken up and tumbled porcelain clay fired to bisque. I am open to any and all thoughts or theories but as there is only one variable, that seems to be my focus, that or the guy with the thing had other plans for the bowl. I am only thankful that I decided to warm the bowl to dry the glaze as had I not and this happened during a test firing, I would have lost my kiln, in this particular case, the remedy was just an old shop-vac.


  1. You said that only moments before you placed the still wet teabowl in the kiln to dry. Did the kiln get over 212 F? Steam can be explosive.

    1. Steve, I doubt it got to 100 degrees and it didn't explode, it just softly let go like pouring water on a sand castle. I have never seen the like before and if you look at the photo you can see it didn't "explode" it just totally gave way.