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RE:[teacherartexchange] teacherartexchange digest: March 03, 2011

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From: Wendy Wells (wwells_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Mar 04 2011 - 12:56:27 PST


Re: kilns
I Always fire at night. There is no way you should be exposing anybody including the night custodian(i leave a note when the kiln is on). If you can smell it-it is not good for you. My kiln is a bottom draft vent and I have a skutt with a kiln sitter. Even when I had an old skutt with the cone shutoff and a hood vent I would Never fire during the school day. I agree with San D.
Wendy Wells
Visual Arts Teacher K-12
Bethel Schools
273 Pleasant Street
Bethel, Vermont 05032
________________________________________
From: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group digest [teacherartexchange@lists.pub.getty.edu]
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 3:01 AM
To: teacherartexchange digest recipients
Subject: teacherartexchange digest: March 03, 2011

TEACHERARTEXCHANGE Digest for Thursday, March 03, 2011.

1. kiln help
2. Re: kiln help
3. day firing
4. Re: Firing
5. Re: day firing
6. history of drawing
7. RE: day firing
8. Re: day firing

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Subject: kiln help
From: Mindy Moore <mmoore@eastlink.ca>
Date: Thu, 03 Mar 2011 06:25:08 -0400
X-Message-Number: 1

Hi,
For the Skutt kiln questions...

I have a kiln in my storage area next to my classroom. I fire during the school day and have a "fence" that I put up with a sign that says the kiln is running and it's hot. The students have no problem keeping their distance. I also have a hood exhaust fan.

The best way to fire the kiln is:
Turn the kiln on the evening before you want to fire it up. If you have on/off switches, turn on only the bottom switch. If you have graduated switches (1-10), put the bottom switch on 8. Prop the lid open with a post that's about 1" high. Leave one peep hole open, the other closed. Lower the hood. Leave it overnight. This will warm the ware inside, allow fumes to escape (and noone is around when this is happening). In the morning, close the lid, close the peep hole, and begin firing it up. If on/off switches, then proceed with turning on a switch every hour, from the bottom to the top. If graduated switches, turn them up gradually, again from the bottom to the top. My kiln has graduated switches, and I tend to turn them up going from 8, to 5, to 3, to 1. With these switches turning up once/hour is almost too slow, I turn up about every 1/2 hour. It also depends on how densely packed the kiln is, what is in the kiln (some pieces need very slow firing).

You need to get 04 cones if you are firing to that temperature.

Also, it's good to make sight cones. Take a piece of clay and make a platform for 3 cones, standing upright and slightly leaning to the right. Place the cone you are firing to in the center; then place one cone in front of it with a cone that is a slightly lower temperature cone, and a cone behind the center one with a cone that fires to a slightly higher temperature. Place the sight cone in line with one of the peep holes so you can peek in from time to time throughout the firing to see whether the kiln is near temperature. You use the larger Orton cones for sight cones, not the small cones that are placed in the kiln sitter. Without a pyrometer, this is the only way that you can tell what is going on in the kiln, temperature wise.

I hope this is helpful.

Mindy M.
Halifax, Nova Scotia

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Subject: Re: kiln help
From: Gayle Parent <gayleparent@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 07:09:49 -0700
X-Message-Number: 2

This response reminds me of the kiln at my former school. Now I have an electronic kiln (I guess that's what you would call it) which is computerized. I punch in information, and it gradually raises the temperature of the kiln. I check on it routinely to make sure nothing has gone haywire, but it is always doing just what it is supposed to do. It seems scary at first, but it's similar to using your oven at home, only hotter.

I fire during the day most of the time, or at night if I feel I must. Of course the kiln company will tell you to fire while you are there, they want no liability if something goes wrong. I sort of wish my district would have some guidelines based on some real data. I am not a ceramic artist, but an elementary school teacher who does a lengthy unit using clay.

Gayle

On Mar 3, 2011, at 3:25 AM, Mindy Moore wrote:

> Hi,
> For the Skutt kiln questions...
>
> I have a kiln in my storage area next to my classroom. I fire during the school day and have a "fence" that I put up with a sign that says the kiln is running and it's hot. The students have no problem keeping their distance. I also have a hood exhaust fan.
>
> The best way to fire the kiln is:
> Turn the kiln on the evening before you want to fire it up. If you have on/off switches, turn on only the bottom switch. If you have graduated switches (1-10), put the bottom switch on 8. Prop the lid open with a post that's about 1" high. Leave one peep hole open, the other closed. Lower the hood. Leave it overnight. This will warm the ware inside, allow fumes to escape (and noone is around when this is happening). In the morning, close the lid, close the peep hole, and begin firing it up. If on/off switches, then proceed with turning on a switch every hour, from the bottom to the top. If graduated switches, turn them up gradually, again from the bottom to the top. My kiln has graduated switches, and I tend to turn them up going from 8, to 5, to 3, to 1. With these switches turning up once/hour is almost too slow, I turn up about every 1/2 hour. It also depends on how densely packed the kiln is, what is in the kiln (some pieces need very slow firing).
>
> You need to get 04 cones if you are firing to that temperature.
>
> Also, it's good to make sight cones. Take a piece of clay and make a platform for 3 cones, standing upright and slightly leaning to the right. Place the cone you are firing to in the center; then place one cone in front of it with a cone that is a slightly lower temperature cone, and a cone behind the center one with a cone that fires to a slightly higher temperature. Place the sight cone in line with one of the peep holes so you can peek in from time to time throughout the firing to see whether the kiln is near temperature. You use the larger Orton cones for sight cones, not the small cones that are placed in the kiln sitter. Without a pyrometer, this is the only way that you can tell what is going on in the kiln, temperature wise.
>
> I hope this is helpful.
>
> Mindy M.
> Halifax, Nova Scotia
>
> ---
> To unsubscribe go to
> http://www.getty.edu/education/teacherartexchange/unsubscribe.html

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Subject: day firing
From: San D Hasselman <shasselman@hotmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 14:37:49 +0000
X-Message-Number: 3

To those firing during the day,make sure you have proper ventillation. Proper ventillation is a unit that hangs directly (and close to) above the lid and evacuates the fumes. Opening windows is NOT proper ventillation. (the wind blows blows out and in) Everything we do in life has a synergistic effect in our bodies so don't tempt it. Also, YOU will be the one who will be exposed the most, as your students come and go from the environment all day.

Read the book "Artist Beware" for any other suggestions from using art supplies. The rule of thumb is "if you can smell it, it is generally not good for you". And shame on manufacturers for de-oderizing some of the products that are not good for you, like turpentine, paint thinners etc. In this way we are fooled to think they are not harming us.

San D
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Subject: Re: Firing
From: "KulasFamily" <makul9@gra.midco.net>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 17:18:33 -0600
X-Message-Number: 4

Tara,
I can imagine your feelings of intimidation!
A couple of suggestions:
Perhaps you could fire on a day that the kids are not in school (Do you ever
have teacher days?)?
Another suggestion is to ask a local potter or clay sculptor to come in to
lend some advice (maybe you would be able to write a grant for a future
collaborative venture with the artist?). Potters are often happy to lend
advice and get more people excited about clay.
I feel that it is unwise to rely solely on auto-shutoffs on kilns. All of
those various parts and mechanisms can wear out or malfunction and an
overfired kiln generally means an expensive mess (ruined artwork, sad
artists, warped shelves, melted stilts, element problems, etc.)
You will need to have cones that match your firing temperature so if it is
cone 04, you need 04 cones.
I have found that I often need to fire more slowly than kiln manuals suggest
with my students' fragile and somewhat thick artworks. Hope that you live in
a town with a ceramic supply! I do not:(
Mary in Northern MN

----- Original Message -----
From: "tara franzese" >
>
>
>
> Hello all,
>
> I am new to the world of kilns and I have a brand new Skutt electric
> (km 1027) kiln in my classroom just waiting to be used. However, I'm
> really nervous about using it. I have a hood vent and when I called
> tech support the operator said I should run the kiln with the lid
> propped open and with one of the peep holes out. He also said I
> should run the kiln during school when I am there just in case it
> doesn't auto shut, I've seen kilns used before and I've never seen a
> teacher run one while the students were in school. Plus...I'm nervous
> about running the kiln when the students are there, and he said when
> the kiln reaches 1000 degrees I should shut the lid. AND, if figuring
> out all this weren't intimidating enough, I want to run a test fire
> (the manual says run to cone 04) and I only have pyrometric cones that
> are o6. AND I have clay from last year that's Sheffield brand (its
> dark gray) and I have no idea what cone I should fire it to. If you
> know anything about this, please help!
>
> ---
> To unsubscribe go to
> http://www.getty.edu/education/teacherartexchange/unsubscribe.html
>

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Subject: Re: day firing
From: Gayle Parent <gayleparent@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 19:12:47 -0700
X-Message-Number: 5

So you always fire at night, for everyone's safety? You don't think it's a fire hazard? I really don't know, so my questions are sincere.
Thanks,
Gayle

On Mar 3, 2011, at 7:37 AM, San D Hasselman wrote:

>
> To those firing during the day,make sure you have proper ventillation. Proper ventillation is a unit that hangs directly (and close to) above the lid and evacuates the fumes. Opening windows is NOT proper ventillation. (the wind blows blows out and in) Everything we do in life has a synergistic effect in our bodies so don't tempt it. Also, YOU will be the one who will be exposed the most, as your students come and go from the environment all day.
>
> Read the book "Artist Beware" for any other suggestions from using art supplies. The rule of thumb is "if you can smell it, it is generally not good for you". And shame on manufacturers for de-oderizing some of the products that are not good for you, like turpentine, paint thinners etc. In this way we are fooled to think they are not harming us.
>
> San D
> ---
> To unsubscribe go to
> http://www.getty.edu/education/teacherartexchange/unsubscribe.html
>

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Subject: history of drawing
From: Boots13@aol.com
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 21:19:07 -0500 (EST)
X-Message-Number: 6

Does anyone have any good handouts or resources on the history of drawing?

Terri NYC

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Subject: RE: day firing
From: San D Hasselman <shasselman@hotmail.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2011 02:33:33 +0000
X-Message-Number: 7

To answer Gayle's question: Yes I always fired at night. The earlier kilns (I taught 35 years) had timer shut off's, so I would set the timer for 8 hours, and it would shut off. The time of 8 hours was found out by experimentation. The later kilns had computerized timers and would do it all automatically. Only had 1 incident in all that time, and that was when a new teacher had put a board with ceramics on top of the kiln after I left school, not paying attention to the kiln being on, and the board started smoking. We tried to let our custodial staff know we were firing so that they were aware it was on overnight.

To make my point, I did not get a proper ventilation system in my classroom until after I came back from cancer surgery and chemotherapy, at which time the school system allowed me to have the author of Artist Beware come and evaluate our art rooms and present a report to them. My cancer, most probably wasn't a result from art supplies, was the catalyst for my concern, and I was "placed" in a study of art teachers.

One of the things I realized was that there are many art experiences one can give our students without jeopardizing our and their health. For example we used to teach jewelry casting without proper ventillation, we used to do printmaking with oil based inks, we used to use dyes in our textile classes, and melted waxes on hotplates for batik. We rewrote our curriculum to eliminate those products, and changed the experiences. I realized for example we were not an "arts high" with extensive art studios, but just an art teacher with one all purpose room which included the kiln.

San D

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Subject: Re: day firing
From: Gayle Parent <gayleparent@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2011 19:40:00 -0700
X-Message-Number: 8

Thanks for taking time to answer San.
g

On Mar 3, 2011, at 7:33 PM, San D Hasselman wrote:

>
> To answer Gayle's question: Yes I always fired at night. The earlier kilns (I taught 35 years) had timer shut off's, so I would set the timer for 8 hours, and it would shut off. The time of 8 hours was found out by experimentation. The later kilns had computerized timers and would do it all automatically. Only had 1 incident in all that time, and that was when a new teacher had put a board with ceramics on top of the kiln after I left school, not paying attention to the kiln being on, and the board started smoking. We tried to let our custodial staff know we were firing so that they were aware it was on overnight.
>
> To make my point, I did not get a proper ventilation system in my classroom until after I came back from cancer surgery and chemotherapy, at which time the school system allowed me to have the author of Artist Beware come and evaluate our art rooms and present a report to them. My cancer, most probably wasn't a result from art supplies, was the catalyst for my concern, and I was "placed" in a study of art teachers.
>
> One of the things I realized was that there are many art experiences one can give our students without jeopardizing our and their health. For example we used to teach jewelry casting without proper ventillation, we used to do printmaking with oil based inks, we used to use dyes in our textile classes, and melted waxes on hotplates for batik. We rewrote our curriculum to eliminate those products, and changed the experiences. I realized for example we were not an "arts high" with extensive art studios, but just an art teacher with one all purpose room which included the kiln.
>
> San D
>
>
> ---
> To unsubscribe go to
> http://www.getty.edu/education/teacherartexchange/unsubscribe.html
>

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