A fellow member of the Solihull Artist Forum is Mark Tilley he is a sculpture and this week he has been firing his kiln on the back lawn of his home in Knowle. On Tuesday morning he began the process to flash up at 9.00am and reached a maximum temperature of 1250deg Celsius about 5pm. The kiln is then allowed to cool. While on a workshop Mark discovered how to build and then run his own kiln and he has been using it since 2003, obviously there is so much more control and satisfaction, using this kiln than the mass produced electric oven models that merely involving flicking a switch.
Mark has to nurture the process during the day constantly checking the temperature as the heat increases up through a constant line on the graph. Mark was behind his original planned timescale (finish by 2:30pm) because there had to be more consideration for early morning damp in the kiln and therefore he kept the heat lower than normal for about 90 minutes.
At some time during the day the gas bottles have to be changed I stood well back and was considering videoing this aspect but Mark was too quick for me and had begun before I got a good vantage point. It took two minutes from start to finish and for some reason the temperature in the kiln dropped less than normal, a sunny day does make the work very pleasant in the garden but it’s not going to affect the extreme temperatures inside the kiln.
This is used for storage which he says is fine until he wants to find something – I think everyone has that dilemma with storage
Thursday morning the kiln was opened
A small group of artists had gathered to see what surprises the firing had provided.
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Two tiles had stuck together but Mark assures us that with care they can be separated.
This piece will go into an exhibition at the Solihull Arts Complex later in the year.