Most of our customers have “met” Katy the kiln over the years, my treasured kiln who has fired thousands of pots over the 9.5 years I have had her. She was re conditioned in 2005 for me by the team at Northern Kilns and installed in our garage at home in January 2006. After working mobile and then opening the first studio in July 2006, Katy moved from home to the studio. She still works well but is very worn in places such as her lid and most of her 9kw elements not to mention the fire brick walls inside her have taken a bashing over these years. So having saved up over the years I took the plunge and ordered a new kiln in April 2015. As the family at Northern Kilns had looked after Katy and I really well they were the obvious choice to go to. So once the size was chosen they set too making the new kiln for me.

The team start with a pile of fire bricks with grooves cut in to hold the electric elements and create the circular body of the kiln. Then add the wire the stainless steel outer and housing for the wiring then it gets technical beyond my understanding. The lid is created and attached and then the all important controller is attached. This is a mini computor in which I put set firing programmes into so the kiln can fire clay, glaze and other products at the right temperatures.

We ran a competition on Facebook to get the name of our new kiln – he has been named Kelvin the Kiln! Kelvin being a thermodynamic measurement in water temperature ( it gets complicated after that, click here if you want to know more about Kelvin scale)

So with the delivery date set at 13th May at 9.30am our lovely customer Margaret kindly appeared in good paparazzi style to take many photo’s of my new “baby” arriving. This is a new blog on my new website and it’s currently only allowing 1 photograph to be loaded so you’ll have to come and see the story board I’ll create in the studio telling the story with photos.

Dylan arrived with Kelvin on time and then put out a series of ramps from the van to the ground up the step and over the door threshold to then “wheel” Kelvin in. Then he had to be set up and commissioned and handed over to me. During all these steps great photos were taken and Dylan was very obliging with this. Then Dylan showed me the new querky bits on the new controller (the technology has advanced in the last 10 ears on these) and how to load Kelvin with pottery – he is a different size and style to Katy to load so that is a big change for us to get used to. The biggest treat apart from having a brand new kiln built for me is the lid on Kelvin! It has gas struts which makes it so easy to open and close him. Katy just has sliding arms so you have to take the full weight of the lid yourself which is quite a good work out for the “bingo wings” !

So Katy the kiln is in semi retirement staying at the studio as back up and for use at busy times, whilst we can’t have both firing at the same time we can put Katy on as soon as Kelvin has finished when we have busy times and need to keep up on our firing schedule. Also I am going to introduce glass fusing into the studio for adults to have fun with and Katy will be doing most of this firing work.

So exciting times in the studio having 2 kilns to look after – I just hope they get on well together.

Last week Kelvin was quickly initiated into the Fired 4 U family having to do 2 firings with Katy watching over him. All went well!