Drying & Firing Work

After you've thrown your pieces, the next time you come in if your rim is firm you may flip your pots so that they may dry from the bottom. Leave them out during the drop in, and you can work on making new pieces while they dry out! They should be closer to dry the next time you come in.

Beginner plus tip- Alternatively if you live close by you can drop by in the first 30 minutes of the Drop In to manage the drying of your work. When I throw, I leave my work uncovered overnight, and flip them the next day and then cover completely for a few days to let them even out in dryness. A few days later, I usually need to leave them uncovered for an hour or two prior to trimming. The Annex is MUCH warmer so I would not do this in that room, perhaps just loosely cover. If you do this, make sure you come in in the morning (T,W,T,S 10-1030am, M,F,Sun11-1130am) to check on them ASAP. If you forget they will dry out.

When your items are ready to be trimmed the bottom should feel firm, and no longer tacky. If it is tacky that means it is too wet, and the trimmings will stick and the tool will catch while trimming. The overall clay colour will be a medium grey, and feel cool to the touch.

If your items are too dry, you will have dust that comes off, which is hazardous. Please use a sponge -you can do this when the item is on the wheel- to re-hydrate your pieces. This is time consuming so if your items are not precious you might just want to move on and make new pots! I suggest recycling them, because by the time you are ready to trim items, you will likely have learned more about the throwing process already, and it is more efficient to make new pieces rather than spend 1-2 hours trying to recover something. There are recycle clay bins located near the sink for trimmings and reject clay pots. There are different buckets for the different clay types. Please read the signs or ask if you need clarification. These bins are for items that have not been fired. Once they have been fired they are permanent and can not be recycled. 

After you have trimmed your work, please use a pin tool to write your name, initials or signature on the bottom. You can look on etsy to get a stamp made! I recommend one that has no handle, so that you can use a tool on the inside of your pot so that it doesn't crack when you apply pressure to create an impression. Please make sure your signature or chop mark is on the clipboard hanging off of the side of the shelf to be fired. If we find your work we sometimes will put it on your shelf for you, but if we don't know who's piece it is we can not help!

Now it's time to dry out your work! Place your pots on a wareboard on your shelf, uncovered. It should take 2-5 days for the items to dry out completely. When it is ready to be fired, it should not feel damp or cool at all. Touch your pot to the back of your arm and to ensure that they do not feel cool. If your pot goes into the kiln when it is wet, it will explode. This sucks not only for you, but for the people whose pot's are around yours, as this can sometimes destroy them.

Once the item is on the shelf, it will likely go through the kiln in 1-3 days. Once in the kiln, it takes 3 days to heat up and cool. For instance, if we load the kiln on Monday morning, we will unload the kiln Wednesday evening. This will help you with timing to understand when to pick up your work.

If you can't find your work, check the reject shelf. If the item was stacked on/in someone else's; if the item was too thick, or too wet the item would be "rejected" onto the top shelf. If you can not find your work anywhere, the item(s) may also be in the kiln. If there have been firings since you put your item(s) on the shelf, check the dates. Look carefully, and spend extra time trying to identify your pieces. It happens often where someone can not find their work on the shelf and I will find them later on the shelf. Because there is a lot of work going through the kiln, the shelves can get crowded making it hard to find your pieces. We do not crowd the shelves for this reason.

If you work is not on the shelf and it's been a while, you may also want to check the toss boxes on the floors in front of the shelf. Once the two week toss date has expired, the items will go into a box for a few extra days to give people a little extra time to find their work. Please do not take other people's work from the boxes unless they have been moved to the back door to be put into the garbage.