Becky Johnson says, "These kilns are safe, easy to program, and built to last."
At the Creative Art Center of Dallas, a weathered sign in front reads “Bayles School 1856 – 1941.” The 1930s building at Laughlin Drive in Dallas, Texas started as an elementary school. Even after 16 years as the Creative Art Center, the building retains the feeling of playful school children. One can almost hear a recess bell and children crowding around the steel lockers that line the hallways.
Becky Johnson fires the Creative Art Center kilns four times a week. “Sometimes we can squeeze in an additional firing during the week,” she says. “Let's see…I have fired the three Art Center Paragon kilns 624 times. Whew! And that doesn't even include the firings in my own personal kilns.
“Opening the kiln is magical,” says Becky. “I love it most when I can load the kiln as tight as possible so that every inch is filled with artwork. Loading the kiln is very important, because I want to ensure that each piece looks its best when the firing is complete.”
“The success of the glass work at the Creative Arts Center of Dallas reflects directly on the quality and reliability of our Paragon kilns,” says Becky. “They allow our students to create challenging and innovative glass art. These kilns are safe, easy to program, and built to last.
“The customer support group at Paragon equals in quality as well,” says Becky. “Whether it is technical or current news from the Kiln Pointer emails, or the friendly, knowledgeable advice from customer service, the Paragon group brings us years of dedication and experience.”
What advice does Becky offer glass artists? “When the kiln is ready to program, carefully review the kiln contents one more time, and alter the program as needed. Sometimes it means soaking longer to eliminate bubbles in layers. Other times it's raising the temperature more slowly to accommodate thicker pre-fired glasswork.
“For drop rings and drape slumps, I use the Delay feature so my students can watch their pieces during scheduled class time.
“By the time the kiln has fired and completely cooled, opening it is a reward for all the effort,” says Becky. “I like to open the kiln with my students so we can review and admire each other’s treasures together. The transformation which the glass makes when heated inside the kiln is magical and mystical. It changes from pieces of arranged cut glass to awe-inspiring art. To be part of that process is a gift.”