|9982 Hwy 197 North|
Clarkesville, GA 30523
Open 7 days a week!
10-5 pm Jan-Mar
10-6 pm Apr-Dec
Cookin' Up A Batch
We've been cookin' up a new batch up here on the Scenic 197 Moonshine Highway.
Oh no, not that batch! Although there may still be some moonshine a
cookin' in these hills from time to time, we aren't the ones workin'
the still. We're workin' the kiln!
After all the throwing, the triming, puttin' on handles, etc. and the
bisque firing and glazing is done, our stoneware must be loaded up in our
gas kiln for the high fire magic that makes it all come together
into the awesomely functional pottery we are known for.
It requires a delicately precise ritual to properly load the gas
kiln. O.k., ahem... beyond the theatrics, we want to get as many pieces
as we reasonably can loaded up without any of them touching each other,
the shelves or the walls of the kiln. We want to utilize every
available cubic inch of the approximately 100 cubic feet hand built gas kiln we
have. We try to put as many smaller pieces in the spaces in
between the bigger pieces. If there's a space and a piece that'll
fit in it we want to fill it. That's where a lot of the spoon
rests and bloom vases go.
Pulling from the racks of glazed pots, our potters match sizes together
with the space available one shelf at a time. Loading the kiln
takes several hours. It might be compared to packing for a four
week trip overseas into one carry on?
When it is all loaded up with glazed pots, the brick door is carefully stacked in place and the kiln is fired up.
As the lead potter and kiln master, Matt typically fires the kiln.
It'll be a hot time in the 'ole kiln tonite!
inside one of the "windows" you can just make out the cones used to
gauge the temperature.
There are five cones in the cone pack we use. Cones 08, 8, 9, 10
11. We only see three cones so cones 08 and 8 have already melted
down from the heat level. Cone 08 goes down at around 1700 F. and
Matt starts the reduction. Cones 8 and 9 are warning cones to let
Matt know that the heat in the kiln is getting close to the desired
temperature. Here we see cone 9 is getting plastic and starting
to bend. Cones 10 and 11 are still straight so the kiln is not up
to temp. yet. When cone 10 goes down we know it's 2340 F. and
it's hot enough. At that point the kiln burners are shut off.
Behind the cones in the photos above you can make out the shape of a bowl. To the
right looks like a cup or mug. Behind that maybe looks like a
Approximately 12 hours later and the "magic" is amost done!
Once fired the kiln is allowed to slowly cool for a day as the "magic"
continues. "The magic inside the kiln continues as the kiln
cools; it is also an important part of the process. Don't want it
cooling too fast or we may not get reds or pots may crack. That's
right, the copper red doesn't turn red until the kiln is cooling after
all the other tweaks on the way up have been tweaked just right." --Matt
Then the door is removed, more heat escapes and the pots are unloaded.
potters inspect, price and inventory all their pieces. Then they
bring them over to the shop for the rest of us to ooh and ahhh over
them.... And now they are ready to find new homes.
of our pottery is food safe using only lead-free glazes and clays.
Microwave safe and most are oven safe too. They can be
washed in the dishwasher or as some customers prefer, hand washed.
Thanks for stopping in. Mark of the Potter would not be the same without you!