The Kiln

 

"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.

 

 

 

 

Eddie Curtis - kiln - major rebuild
Eddie Curtis - kiln - major rebuild

The arch former in place ready for arch bricks

Eddie Curtis - kiln
Eddie Curtis - kiln

The arch former is removed

Eddie Curtis - kiln
Eddie Curtis - kiln

Inside of kiln showing bag wall

burner & spy
burner & spy

Swirlamiser (oil and compressed air). One of two diametrically opposed fireboxes. Bung removed to show reduction flame.

Eddie Curtis - kiln
Eddie Curtis - kiln

Inside the kiln showing the central downdraught flue under the shelves

Eddie Curtis - kiln
Eddie Curtis - kiln

The finished kiln with door bricks removed. Oil burner at the left (1 of 2) diametrically opposed .