Firing ceramics is an enormous aspect of clay art. The glazing and marking of a piece transforms a raw-looking form into a work of art. Kilns of all shapes, sizes, and types can be built in order to accomplish the finishing touches on a ceramicist’s work. There exist two types of firing that have not been performed on campus for years: soda firing and salt firing. In order to soda fire, one powers up a gas kiln to cone 9 (about 2351º F) and sprays soda ash into the kiln. The soda then follows the flame through the kiln and attaches itself to the ceramics, creating a glaze on the pieces in the kiln. Salt firing is about the same, but at temperature cone 9 one introduces rock salt into the kiln. The salt ‘pops’ as the heat hits it, and the salt spreads throughout the kiln coating the ceramics with a glossy glaze. Both these firings can be done in the same type of kiln, but the kiln has to be specially built. These two firing processes create new textures, different glazes, and give a fresh, innovative way to fire clay for other art students. This presentation will focus on our process of building a kiln for these firings. Experiencing the trials and tribulations of investigating and creating a new kiln, we succeeded in building a working kiln that will be used in the years to come.
Jeffrey Flug, ’10 Fairfield, IA
Major: Art and Art History
Margaret Harris, ’13 Lander, WY
Edward Gross, ’10 Harvard, MA
Majors: History, Art and Art History
Megan McElhaney, ’13 Akron, OH
Sponsor: Doug Hanson