Pottery Sorrows: Explosions Happen!
There's nothing worse than hearing an explosion. Especially for me, because it means that someone's dedication and hard work has ended horribly.
Pottery explosions happen in the kiln. They're easy to avoid but it happens more than you'd think.
It all starts with thinking about moisture. When we fire pieces we absolutely need them to be dry and solid!
Explosions happen because your piece hasn't dried evenly, which causes steam to build up. The thing with steam is that it has to go somewhere...and when it's in the kiln it goes through your piece...with force.
The second reason for explosions are air pockets. When your piece is in the kiln it burns...in a cool way. The organic matter in the clay combusts, which is usually fine, but if your piece isn't solid and has a hidden air pocket then the steam from the organic matter builds up - and again has no where to go except through your piece.
How Do You Avoid Explosions?
Keep your pieces thin(ish). While you want your pottery to have substance (otherwise they will crack), you also want to keep them nice and slim.
It’s all about balance.
Pottery with clay walls or sections over 2 cm thick may explode in the kiln.
If you are making a thicker piece then take the time to ensure your piece has been hollowed out where possible for air flow.
Keep it thin or hollowed. Air flow is the most important part of ensuring explosions are kept to a minimum.
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