17 Jun

What is a Kiln Opening - Restocking - Reveal?

The short answer is:

I make, I sell, I make more!  But really, what is a kiln opening?  Some artists make work to put in  large wood fire kilns.  They fire their kilns maybe once or twice a year with hundreds of pieces in each load.  These two firings, which may take a couple of  days to fire and just as long to have the kiln cool holds their year long earnings. When the kiln is opened, work is put out and is for sale. Collectors and patrons wait for the kiln to open. Hence, the phrase, a kiln opening.  

I do not use a large wood kiln.  I have a large electric kiln. It takes me awhile to fill my kiln.  After I finish making my pieces,  I bisque fire, to approx. 1800 degrees.  Depending on what's in the kiln, I glaze my functional work. I always think this won't take long, but it always takes a day or so.  Sometimes I need to mix a new batch of glaze, or I am experimenting with a new glaze.  Between waxing the bottom of the pieces so there is no glaze there, to pouring, dipping or painting glazes on, the time ticks away.  Pieces get their bottoms rewiped and loaded into the kiln to be fired again to approximately 2400 degrees.   

My geese are Obvara fired.  That's a whole different firing in a different kiln. I mix my "magic brews."  I am always experimenting with different ingredients. I need to work outdoors, so good weather is essential, no rain or high winds.  I need to work out of a small kiln, getting 6-8 pieces to 1800 degrees again.  Each piece is removed with special tongs, so they are held tight  as to not get pushed by the pressure of them getting submerged into the magic brew.  Dip in the brew, out of the brew, into water to stop the singeing and preserve the patterns and out to cool.   My Obvara firing  takes at least a day, depending on how much work i have. 

So, my kiln openings are really more of a reveal.  Reveal what I've been working on for the past few months.  In the past I held onto my work until I had a gallery opening (one in May & November)  or I held onto them for a show (usually in October).  But there is that wait. Many times it's a long wait. It feels like when you get a gift for someone and you have to keep it in the closet for a few months. That is not me. They always get the gift early!   I just get too excited!   So, I decided to do these restocking events.  Since I work in clay, I decided to call my showing a kiln opening, even though the kilns were opened a week or so before.  After all, I had to photograph, sort and price my work, then write descriptions and post the listings. You have the idea.  After all of this, I think the short answer is pretty accurate.  I make, want to share & sell, so I can then make more work for my kilns.