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Open Studio Hire

I would like to make work at home and then bring it to your studio to fire (and glaze).....

We get a lot of enquiries from people who want to make work at home and then fire and glaze it with us. We really do want to help you. Unfortunately, there are very real questions which we need to ask you, and these questions take time to go through. Also, we get this enquiry almost every day, which is why we put in the time to give this, much fuller answer! 

 

Pottery is a much, much more technical and demanding craft than most people realise, and before you can safely fire anything there are a number of important factors which you have to consider:

 

We know that you don’t have a lot of time, so below you will find the headline facts, and then the optional details if you want/need them. 

Headline: We need to fire our kiln according to our teaching schedules.

 

Detail: We have a lot of courses happening and need to be able to fire our kiln at specific times. Therefore it is impossible to co-ordinate with various people who want to ‘put a few pieces in our next firing’ – especially as we have no storage space and our firings are almost always totally full anyway. This is why you have to hire the whole kiln (on dates booked in advance), and we don’t offer partial kiln hire. 

Our kiln is quite big, so you may need to make a lot of work or club together with someone else to hire it.

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Low-fire clay melted in a high-temperature firing. Sad times!

Headline: Different clays fire at different temperatures. Getting the temperature wrong will destroy your work and could permanently destroy our kiln. We need be 100% sure what clay you are using.

 

Detail: All clay pieces need to be thoroughly and carefully dried before firing. Any amount of moisture whatsoever will cause them to explode in the kiln, so if we are not in control of the drying you can destroy your work, as well as other people’s.

 

Also, clay is a ceramic, like glass. It has a melting temperature. If your clay melts in our kiln we cannot fix it. The kiln will be irreparable and our business would receive the sort of blow that could finish it forever (and we would want to charge you £5000!). Besides which, your pieces would be destroyed.

Headline: Glazes also fire at different temperatures, and getting this wrong can destroy both your work and our kiln. 

 

Detail: There is more scope for getting things wrong here. Glaze is glass which melts in the kiln. All experienced potters will know the firing temperatures of the glazes they use, and will also know how “runny” they are, which is also strongly affected by the shape and size of the piece they are applied to. It takes a long time and lots of experience to get good at estimating this for a runny glaze. And we often get it wrong ourselves! 

If your glaze runs onto the kiln shelf during firing, your piece will almost certainly break, plus our kiln shelf will need to be ground down (which we will have to charge you £30 for). This process will be much more catastrophic in larger pieces. 

You may well need to make and provide ‘cookies’ for you work to go on to protect the kiln shelf.

Runny glaze that dripped off pot and stuck it to a cookie. 

Angle grinding glaze off a kiln shelf

Headline: As well as getting the temperature right, glazes also need to be matched to the clay you are using, otherwise they can ruin your piece. 

 

Detail: If the glaze you are using expands or shrinks at a very different rate to the clay body of your pot/piece then it can chip, crack, craze, dunt, shiver, pinhole or, again, just destroy your piece in some creative way that none of us have thought of. So, no, you can’t just use our glazes on your pieces without testing them. Sorry! 

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