2,381 Degrees

2,381 Degrees

14 hours, 2,381degrees, and 42kwh later, we have porcelain stoneware!

This was a trial-run for some slab-cut porcelain pieces I plan to incorporate in jewelry designs. It was also my first time firing my L&L Liberty-Belle electric kiln.

A few key takeaways:

  • Trust the test tile. Dave’s Porcelain fires to an earthy beige. In the future I will experiment with whiter, more vitreous clay bodies.
  • Cut leather-hard. Since I am going for very angular, geometric shapes, I allowed my slab to become leather hard before cutting out each shape. This helped the edges maintain their integrity.
  • Templatize it! I used tracing paper to duplicate designs from my sketch book, and then enlarged them to adjust for shrinkage. I laid the tracing paper over my slab, and used a needle tool to poke a hole through the paper and into the clay to mark the corners of each shape. Then I connected the dots using a needle tool and ruler before cutting out the shapes. This allowed me to make multiples of the same design without spending undue time measuring.
  • It’s all in the sanding. I spend a lot of time unnecessarily trying to perfect my shapes while they were still leather-hard. Ultimately, I was able to achieve much better consistency and precision by allowing the pieces to dry completely and then sanding* the greenware.
  • Weigh it down. A number of the pieces had fairly severe warping. In later batches, I began using a board to weigh down the leather-hard pieces as they dried.
  • I always knew I had two left feet, but apparently I have two left hands as well! Yes, that’s right. I was very excited to use my brand-spanking new welding gloves, only two discover I had been sent a pair of lefties!

Up Next: Color! To glaze or not to glaze.

*Always wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated space when sanding

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