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Lesson Plans

Re: Kilns

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kurt Hasselman (kprs)
Wed, 27 May 1998 05:29:27 -0400

While I agree that firing the kiln is an art into itself (i.e. raku, crazed firing,
salt firing, slow firing, reduction, oxidation etc), the reality is in a highschool,
you fire just to get the kids work done. Reason: time is of the essence, and the
janitors are not too happy with the smell, and believe me, you don't have the luxury
of time, glaze materials etc. I have had to make sacrifices over the years, and one
of the biggest is that we do not make our own glazes or "tinker" with the kiln. All
of my students theoretically "learn" about what kilns can do, just as home economic
students learn about the different types of cloth and how the weft runs through it,
but we use the kiln as a functional tool, and home ec kids use the fabric as a means
to an end without having to weave it first. I have a computerized system on my kiln
at home and at school, whereby I punch in the cone number, turn it on, and off it
goes. Should I ever have a block schedule, that computerized system could be used
to slow things down, or control when the kiln gets to a temperature and let it stay
there for crackle glazes. As for raku, the town said no way, no ordinance. So I
console myself with the notion that this is not "arts high" and do the best I can
under the circumstances.

As for photography, I agree, manual settings give you control over the final
product, but in ceramices, AMACO glazes are all you get, so we push different ways
to apply glazes from splatter, to wax resist, and the kids get their aesthetics in
that manner.

Have a good day!

San D

> I _may_ be slightly out of my depth on this, but my impression from the other
> serious potters and potter-students is that firing the kiln is as important a
> part of the process as any of it, and an auto-kiln kinda defeats the purpose of
> teaching the process to the students. As a photographer, I certainly would not
> have my students learning on auto-exposure cameras, or having prints made at a
> lab. The firing of the kiln is about like the darkroom experience, where the
> real magic happens.
> OTOH, if all you want to do is get the little kiddies' pots fired so they can
> take em home...
> Michael Keller
> Old and New Media