"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.
The arch former in place ready for arch bricks
The arch former is removed
Inside of kiln showing bag wall
Swirlamiser (oil and compressed air). One of two diametrically opposed fireboxes. Bung removed to show reduction flame.
Inside the kiln showing the central downdraught flue under the shelves
The finished kiln with door bricks removed. Oil burner at the left (1 of 2) diametrically opposed .