How to Paint Pottery with Enamel Glaze : How to Load a Pottery Kiln

Hi I’m Jen from Clay Cafe and on behalf of
Expert Village, I’ll be showing you how to take your ceramic piece from start to finish.
In this clip I am going to give you a couple tips on how to load your kiln. There’s a couple
things to remember when you’re starting to load your kiln and that is to think of your
kiln as a giant puzzle. You sort of want the same height pieces going on the same shelf.
That way, you don’t have any space wasted. Generally, kilns are loaded with medium sized,
medium to tall pieces in the bottom, which are generally mugs, piggie banks, small vases,
that sort of thing. Second, we move on to our plates, our tiles, our flatter items,
our smaller bowls. Next we’ll get into our much larger pieces like our tall vases and
taller figurines and those sort of things. When you’re working out your shelf height,
there’s a couple of things that will help you get the correct height for your shelf.
You want to make sure when you are selecting your piece that you check your tallest piece
with your tallest shelf stilt. Shelf stilts are basically stilts that hold up the layers
in the kiln. So what you’ll generally have is three of these along each corner of a shelf.
So what we’ll do is we’ll put on the edge. We’ll put one on that edge and we’ll put one
balancing out all areas of the kiln so that…that shelf at least. So when another shelf is put
on top, it’s supported by those three stilts. A little tip for making sure that your shelf
stilts are the same height or higher actually than your pieces is to actually take your
shelf stilt and put it right next to your piece on a flat surface. This way you can
make sure…you can easily see…that if we put a shelf on top of here it’s going to completely
cover that and it will fuse this piece to the shelf above. So what we want to make sure
is that our shelf stilt is actually higher than our pieces on that shelf so there is
enough clearance in between…enough air can flow in between the piece. So, after we have
our stilts supporting our shelf, what we are going to do is we’re going to start to load
the pieces. So whether is is a wiped bottom or a stilt, you’re just going to grab the
piece and you’re going to hold the bottom of the stilt and place it inside the kiln.
When placing inside the kiln, it’s really important to make sure that your pieces are
spaced out with about a half an inch spacing in between. This is important to allow good
air flow around each piece and so your glazes have a good chance to breath during the firing.
When all your pieces are loaded it’s then time to close the lid and turn it on and start
your firing.

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