Yesterday's firing was a hot, explosive event. Hotter than it ought to have been, and of course any explosions at all are to be avoided. There were three in this one - the top high-temp conepack and two raw-glazed mugs. I've glazed raw before with no incidents, but this time two of the three raw pots blew up and scattered bits and pieces all over. (I'm guessing they were not fully dry after glazing.) As anyone who has ever had this experience knows, shards tend to find their way to all shelves and into virtually any kind of pot. There was a lot of bad behavior by the potter during the opening of the kiln this morning. Fortunately, I had encouraged no one to join me. And I've swept up and discarded the pile of broken pots that landed on the studio's concrete floor.
The other problem was letting the heat get past cone 10. Because the upper conepack was gone, I had to rely on the bottom one and the never perfectly reliable pyrometer. The bottom pack was hard to read, and until the last minute I took the falling 11 cone to be cone 10. So I overfired. Which means little to the Shino glazes, but everything to the ash glazes. The lovely Leach Kaki on many pots became one with the shelves.
I'm only writing this because people should know we all make mistakes. I don't mean to make it sound like I took these explosions and the cone 11 heat and the resulting carnage lightly. I was not a happy man this morning. Still, good pots came from the firing. More will come again. But I don't know if I'm ready to grind all those feet ...
Photos: Shino creamer with crackle slip; three-pound Shino serving bowl; mugs; small vase with carbon-trap Shino.