When I first began making pottery, I was a member of a community studio where wheels, space, tools, and glazes were accessible for a small fee. And, all the firing was handled by the studio assistant. For most potters, a community studio is an ideal option because it allows them more time to work on making pots and helps defray the costs of their hobby.
Then, for a short time, I worked as the studio assistant which was a great opportunity for me to learn the other side of things like firing and mixing glazes. It also gave me confidence to buy a wheel and kiln. Since I set up my own studio, I have been firing and maintaining my own kiln. I love it, but it does take time and money to maintain.
Before Christmas, we had our first kiln failure which resulted in purchasing some kiln bricks and element holders. Since then, we have had to replace the elements in both kilns, install a new thermocouple in my kiln, and patch a few bricks in Julie’s kiln. And, yesterday, my kiln failed during a bisque-load. Although the pots can be fired once the kiln is up and functioning, the delayed firing means the seder set that I was working on won’t be completed in time for this weekend.
None of this is surprising. It is simply a part of pottery. Kilns are fired to very high temperatures which puts a lot of stress on them and makes them susceptible to failure. Components are bound to wear out and need replacing with usage and time. This is all part of having a studio but I must admit, it is well worth all the small frustrations.