"It's noisy, intense and very exciting, a force cajoled rather than controlled, and never tamed".
I have been making ceramics for nearly all my working life, perfecting technique and accumulating a repertoire of responses that I can call upon as the need arises. My approach is largely empirical, a required attitude if one is to garner gainful results when responding to the unexpected consequences thrown up when working with such base elements as earth and fire.
I work with a large brick built kiln, constructed by myself over twenty-five years ago. It stands some seven feet tall and six feet wide and is powered by two oil burners, driven by compressed air. It's noisy, intense and very exciting, a force cajoled rather than controlled, and never tamed.
The burners roar, the flames leap out of each tiny crack in the walls of the kiln, and the heat is searing. A typical firing will last perhaps fourteen hours and achieve a temperature in excess of 1300degrees centigrade. I tend the kiln for the duration of the firing, making adjustments to the burn rate and controlling the internal atmosphere. At critical temperatures it is important to have a good command of the atmosphere inside of the kiln.