Yesterday was a dark day. For the past few weeks, I have been busily preparing for the Tucson Folk Festival Craft Fair May 5-6. I have been making tiles and faces, glazing, and firing the kiln. My first tile firing (above and immediately below) went perfectly.
The bisque and glaze firings of my new faces went pretty well also-- until Friday, when my kiln had a meltdown. All of the coils, shelves, and faces are black with soot, and a section of brick has been melted (far below). Apparently, there was a lot of smoke in the kiln--an unintended reduction firing. It's unclear exactly how this happened. Yesterday, it was very depressing when I opened the kiln. The timer turned it off after 18 hours, but it never got to temperature (cone 6).
I'm going to haul my kiln to Marjon on Monday for a diagnosis, but it doesn't look good. They did suggest refiring the smoke-covered pieces. The only other option is to throw them away. The kiln did get hot enough to sort of set the glaze on them, so they can't be washed off and reglazed. Stay tuned for the continuing saga. Somehow I have to do the second firing on all of my festive tiles-- or I won't have much for the festival!