[Clayart] Bisque firing story

design at saultman.com design at saultman.com
Sun Jul 28 23:39:19 EDT 2019

In 1974 I was just learning to be a potter. At a country farmhouse pottery studio in Howell, Michigan, I built a catenary kiln, from used fire bricks I found at a derelict foundry in Ann Arbor. I built it in an old out-building on the farms’ property. I used atmospheric burners from a Daniel Rhodes book. Propane.
While I waited for my two potters wheel order to arrive from Estrin, in Canada. We built a kiln-load of pieces that were all hand-built. Hours of careful work.
Having never fired a bisque firing in the new kiln I sadly, fired it too hot and blew up every single piece. When I opened the kiln It was like a hand grenade had gone off in there.
There was sadness, there was learning. It was long ago. I don’t hurt from it anymore. It was a moment in time when I was learning. I have blown up stuff in firings that served as bookmarks in my career. That one sticks in my mind.


Dan Saultman
Saultman Design, Inc.
Limited edition ceramic products for home & office.
Clinton Twp., MI

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