Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Kiln Guy

This guy lives inside my bead kiln. He's my bead rack. He kindly keeps hot lampwork beads resting on his stomach so they don't touch the kiln floor:
Did you know he wears really cool red Converse sneakers too?
He begged me for them!
Inside the kiln:
His feet are on the left
The glass is shiny in the picture above. ^^ That's because this photo was taken before I realized that the smooth glass let the beads roll around too much, so I etched it for a rougher surface.

Here he is posing on top of the kiln for a full body pic:
You can see that he's got a really bad case of Scoliosis. The right side of the kiln is hotter than the left and it warped the glass.

How The Kiln Man Came To Be

A couple of years ago there was trouble with my new kiln. The metallic luster was disappearing from my beads if they were positioned within 1-1/2" of the kiln walls or floor. 

This was a big deal for me since 90% of the beads I made used metallic glass. I worked with the kiln company for several months trying to figure out a solution.

For starters, I needed a non-metallic bead rack for the inside of the kiln, to keep the beads propped up and away from the walls. Rather than buy ceramic kiln furniture or a metal bead rack, I made my own from glass. I figured why not add details like a face and shoes!

My kiln still runs too hot, as evidenced by the bending 12 mm rod of Effetre Clear glass. My kiln controller is set at 850 deg. F, but if I use an independent thermometer to test that it's actually about 920. It's even hotter on the right side - it would have to be hotter than 970 to warp the glass like that.

I've pretty much solved the vanishing metallic problem now. I've turned down the kiln temp, I'm using The Kiln Guy, garaging my metallic beads on the left side, and developing the metallic luster onto the beads while they are hot. Putting the beads into the reduction flame while they're still fairly hot helps to fuse the luster to the glass.

Thank you Kiln Guy! Couldn't have done it without you!


Jane Perala said...

Great tips. Thanks!

la mar de bonita said...

haha, what a cute idea - your kiln guy is sooo charming !