Maryke Henderson's Ceramics

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I designed and built my gas kiln, specifically learning to weld and, while the results are not pretty, the kiln is still hanging together well.

I have used dense firebricks for the floor and fireboxes with insulating firebricks for the walls, door and arch.  The two fireboxes are diagonally opposed, one at the front and the other at the back.

Most of my work is fired raw, which means it is produced with a single firing, any slips or glazes being applied to the green or unfired ware.  This alleviates the extra time required in packing a kiln twice and reduces the fuel consumption required for the first (or bisque) firing.

Careful consideration is given to the placement of the work, positioning forms in relation to the flame and soda paths.  The placement of the work is vital to the final decoration allowing for interaction between clay, fire and soda leaving the flame path across the ware.   To prevent the work from sticking to the shelves it is placed on silica stones with fireclay wads for stability.  Most of the firing is in a reducing atmosphere.

When cone 8 is down (1240°) I commence the introduction of soda mix (the Gail Nichols Method) to the fireboxes.    This process of soda introduction takes 21/2   hours and when cone 11 softens (1290°C) I begin an oxidised soak for 1 hour to allow for further volatilisation of any residual soda in the firebox.  During the soda introduction and soak I remove draw-rings to determine the amount of glaze forming on the clay surface.  I fire down in a reduction atmosphere with wet wood until the kiln temperature has dropped to 1100°C.  The kiln is then shut down and allowed to cool for 2 days
Completed firing with soda fired work
About My Work
Kiln and Firing
Professional Experience
Awards, Prizes and Commissions