Monday, March 16, 2009

My Fear of Clay In The Kiln...

My fear of putting clay in the kiln is currently holding me back from even playing with the clay! I am itching to get my little kiln out and make some beads (these are all that is left from the class I took to learn how to make lampwork beads. I had them all on a bracelet with a lot of the beads I've made since taking the class and it broke at a store and the beads went everywhere! - I lost several of my favorites). These beads are far from perfect, but they sure were fun to make!and I want to make buttons like these from this book in clay. I spent part of Sunday gazing at my glass stringers and thinking about what beads I want to make. What color combinations, etc. (maybe something for Molly since her birthday is in April or something for my Mom for Mother's Day and her birthday, which is in May)...I love these Dichroic glass stringers - yum!...
and looking at bead books -this is by far my favorite lampwork book!

I'm definitely feeling the need to work with the glass and whenever I think about glass and my kiln I immediately think about clay and the buttons I want to make. This past summer I had planned to do a little playing with clay -- chickened out because of the kiln issue! I have searched and searched for the directions for firing clay in my little electric kiln. All I keep finding are books and articles that end with .... and fire in your kiln. I DON"T KNOW HOW TO FIRE CLAY IN MY KILN!!!! I get the how to load the kiln part. Every book I've read shows that step from every angle and then says...and fire in your kiln. AAAAHHHHH! That's the problem --- no one has step by step instructions on the firing part!!! Working with the clay is a no brainer --- but the firing!!!! eeeeks. I'm scared to just wing it! It's easy to use the kiln with glass, but clay is a totally different experience!

I have this book THAT I LOVE!!!! With things like this in it....I have the low fire clay, I have the tools, and I have my buttons to use as stamps all ready to go....I have the low fire glaze...And I have the little kiln...BUT HOW THE HECK DO I FIRE THESE BUTTONS IN MY ELECTRIC KILN?!!!!!! It's making me a bit nutso that I can't find the answer. If I weren't such a chicken about something blowing up in the kiln I would just go for it -- but alas I'm a chicken about something blowing up - namely ME! :O) So I went on line and I've decided that the only way I'm going to get the information I need is to take a class. I thought about taking a class at Harford Community College in their non-credit section. I've taken a lot of classes there in the past but they only seem to have non-credit classes on using the wheel which isn't really what I'm looking for right now. They do have a Ceramic Raku class that is just three classes (4/25 - 5/9) that I think would be fun and would make some pretty buttons. And then this summer I'm thinking about maybe signing up for one of the Baltimore Clayworks-adult classes. I really just want the info for firing, but I need to spice up my life a little right now - feeling a bit...restless, or maybe it's stress...whatever it is I need an adventure and taking a class in something new always fixes me right up!

Speaking of glass and kilns, if you have the opportunity to take a lampwork bead making class in your area TAKE IT! I had absolutely no experience with glass or torches and had the best day ever in that class! So so so fun! I highly recommend it. I really want a propane/oxygen torch but Mark didn't think he wanted to leave for work in the morning worrying that I would blow up the house while he was away. MARY! I DON"T WANT TO GET A CALL AT WORK THAT MY WIFE BLEW UP THE HOUSE WORKING WITH A PROPANE/OXYGEN TORCH IN THE KITCHEN!!!! My little hot head torch does the trick just fine, but you can't make beads as large as you can with the propane/oxygen torch. Plus, with the propane/oxygen torch you can work much faster and it's quiet (the hot head is NOISY!) - Mark! Killer of fun! :O) So the hot head torch is cheap, noisy, and is a little slow, but you still get great beads at the end! I really should get it out more.

Wow! Are you still with me after all this yammering?! Have a great day!


Clevelandgirlie said...

Oooooooh Mary - I WANT YOU TO MAKE BUTTONS AND BEADS - so you can make me some. I love hand made buttons. Sabrina and I make clay buttons out of that kind of clay you can put in the oven - but it's just not the same. YOu could make all kinds of cool embellishments with words, etc. How fun!

Levin (and Emily) said...

wow - i just thought you bought those beads - i've never considered that you could make them. it sounds like fun.
goodluck with the kiln thingy - i'm with you - i'd want step by step instructions. i value my life as well :)

Pink & Green Mama said...

I gave up my big kiln because I was afraid of burning down the house when we moved here last year but I'm rethinking asking for it back (de-gifting from the friend who now has it sitting in her garage untouched for 2 years) There is a guy here in VA called the "kiln doctor" who comes to your office/house to service kilns and seems to know everything about them. I wonder if there is someone like that out your way who could provide some answers for you. Great blog and congrats to your daughter for her dance contest!