The amount to be charged is based on the size of the greenware before it goes into the kiln. The size is determined by a quick measure of the three dimensions, then multiplying these to get the volume. This is the cubic inches of the work. You must be a monthly member to have your work fired at Toledo Clayworks. Memberships are available on a month to month basis in case you don’t make it in that often.
The fee is 7 cents per cubic inch.
In a nutshell, anything you want to have fired will be charged a small fee based on how much room it takes up in the kiln. This one charge includes both bisque and glaze firing, along with any materials used. You will measure each piece of greenware as it goes onto the shelf, recording this on the firing sheet located at the measuring station downstairs.
There is a Q&A specific to Firing Fees that will answer most of your questions. Please read THIS first.
Measuring Your Piece
The following is a view of the station and just how to use it. I encourage everyone to ask for help on your first piece or two, the helpers or I can show you how easy it is.
This is the measuring station downstairs near the clay sink. Notice the clipboard for recording name/date/dimensions, the calculator for finding the volume of your piece and a square (the orange thing) if you have trouble aligning things. I’ll show you how to use all these.
Now let’s look at the width. You can see that we are well over six inches but not quite seven. When measuring LENGTH and WIDTH you always round DOWN. So the measurement of the width of this bowl is six inches.
You can see that I have recorded the date, name, type of work, and the dimensions of the work. I have also multiplied the three numbers to come up with the volume of the bowl, 108 cubic inches. This is the space the bowl occupies in the kiln.
Remember all those numbers on the back board? Well they make up a cheat sheet for finding the volume of round items without having to do the math! In this case you look at where the three inch height line crosses the six inch wide line and there you will find the number 108, the volume of the bowl. Pretty neat eh? Keep in mind this only works for round items.
What if it isn’t round? Here is a tea pot in place to be measured. The height and width were easy to find. Five inches tall and three wide, but the length was hard to see. This is where you can use the orange square.
The orange square shows that what was might of been a 12 inch length was in fact a little less. So for calculating the volume we would use 11 inches, saving a little on the fee. You will have to use the calculator to multiply 5 X 3 X 11 to find the volume of 165.
I’m hoping this has helped to clarify the process of measuring and recording your work before placing it on the to-bisque shelves. The Q & A page can answer many of the questions you may still have. Feel free to ask myself or any of the staff for further help.
When It’s Time to Load the Kiln
One of question I hear often is “why didn’t all of my things get into the last kiln run?” There several main reasons I won’t put a piece into the kiln.
First, if there is a chance the work will damage the kiln or other work in the kiln, it doesn’t go in. By far the main culprit is sloppy glazing where glaze is left on the foot or extends so close to the foot even the slightest run will melt to the shelf. Small droplets of glaze that stick to the wax will drop right onto the kiln shelf the moment the wax melts. Most problems like this are easy to prevent with a wet sponge and it the potter’s responsibility to spend a moment checking their work.
If the work is broken, I wont fire it. After all, why would you want it fired if it is broken? If you do want a broken piece fired, leave a note with it so we know what to do. For bisque this includes cracks.
If I think the piece will not fire successfully, I will wait to fire it until we talk. Examples of this would be a lidded vessel where the contact area between the lid and body has been glazed, or the glaze is pealing badly and would surly cause crawling. Larger flat pieces that are very thin tend to split along stress lines, especially if the surface is embellished.
If the work is too fragile for me to handle, I won’t handle it. When clay is damp it is forgiving to stress and shock, but when dry it has zero tolerance. You may be able to set a piece down while wet, but lifting it when dry may not be possible. On green wear, sharp corners where the piece meets the table will often chip unless lifted perfectly.
Things to Know (a random collection of varying importance)
- For the most part, glaze is a powder that we mix with water. It isn’t a glue. If you glue something together with wet glaze, it will fall off when the glaze drys. Even worse it may hold together till it gets in the kiln, then fall apart as it fires, damaging the kiln and the work around it.
- When glaze reaches it’s melting point, it acts like syrup. It will stick and soak into anything it touches. Unlike syrup, it won’t wash off.
- If we are going to hang something to fire, anywhere the hanging system will touch the piece must be free of glaze. See #2 above.
- Do not bring in glazes. If you slip in a low fire glaze and it damages a shelf, I will ask you to replace it. A shelf can cost $40-$50.
- Do not bring in clay. If we mid-fire a low-fire clay, it may melt into the kiln wall or floor. I will ask you replace the kiln. They run about $2000.
- Do to the delicate nature of some sculptures, I may ask the artist to load the work for the first firing.
- At a minimum We try to fire twice each week, one bisque load and one glaze load. Sometimes I shift the firing day a little to accommodate as full a load as possible. If you have a deadline just let me know or leave a note. I’ll do my best.
- I’m not that tall. Thin flat work placed on the top shelf may get overlooked.
- Clay that has cavities and no vent holes are called grenades. It may look like a duck, but it will explode in the kiln and damage other’s work. Too many times and I won’t be able to fire for you.
- If you are making enough to fill a kiln load each week, it’s time to get your own kiln. If your work is just really large and requires the entire kiln to fire it may take sometime before we have space to devote a firing for your one piece.