Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

This is the story of what happens when I crow about the beauty of something I made. I do not know yet if the ending is happy, I am betting it will not be.

So I put the last two plates from my dinnerware commission, the last Seder set and two unassigned 12" paisley plates in the kiln to slump. I decided to be tricky and put in two top-temp soaks to mimic the extreme effort I went through manually last night. What I *meant* to do was ramp up to 1225 at a moderate rate, soak for 20 minutes and then ramp to 1265--again moderately, and soak for another 20 minutes.

I *meant* to set the timer so I could check towards the end of the second soak to make sure it was enough, but I forgot. But it would not have mattered, the damage would already have been done when the timer went off. And as it was, I went down and looked in before the second ramp was done.

What I actually programmed into the kiln computer was a ramp up to 1225, soak for 20 and then a ramp to *1465* with a soak for 20... When I went down to check to see how things were going, the kiln was between 1425 and 1445 degrees. I don't know the exact temp because I freaked out when I saw it and immediately turned the kiln off and whipped up the lid (I have asbestos gloves doncha know). Everything was glowing an evil cherry red (pieces slumping are not supposed to glow) and one of the 12" paislies had begun to puddle towards the middle of the mold. The glass, you see, is *fused* at 1440 degrees. I almost never go as high as 1465 for anything, much less slumping.

The best that will happen is that everything will be a bit more slumped (puddled) than I intended, but will not be too noticeable with the organic edges. More likely, if I am really lucky, I will get the additional slumping along with some kiln wash stuck to the bottom of the dinnerware and the paislies. The penultimate worst case has the ceramic board stuck to the bottom of the Seder plates and the molds ruined, but the pieces ok. The ultimate big-time bummer has the pieces all too slumpoed to salvage and the Seder molds ruined. This would be exceptionally bad as I am out of one of the frits (crushed glass) I need to do the dinnerware commission and would have to crush some of my own in order to re-create those pieces. I would also miss my deadline for delivery of the Seder plates to the Jewish Museum of New York.

Positive karmic thoughts and prayers would be really nice right about now.


Barbara Muth said...

Oh boy. I was all set to post a comment earlier today about how lovely the seder plates turned out. Fingers crossed, tons of good thoughts for you and the glowy glass....


Bill Paley said...

Oy vey...