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Loading Ceramics

In the top photo, the short bowl is hidden by tall pieces. The short bowl will receive better heat distribution when loaded as in the second photo.

When loading ware of differing heights on the same shelf, place the shorter pieces toward the outer edge of the shelf. This gives better heat distribution than when the short pieces are toward the center and surrounded by tall pieces.

On top-loading kilns, placing a shelf too close to the top of the firing chamber can lead to over- or under-firing.

Suggestions for placement of the top kiln shelf:

1) Mount the top shelf low enough so that element grooves show between the kiln lid and top shelf.

2) Place tall ware on the top shelf. This necessitates lowering the top shelf.

3) If the ware on your top shelf is over- or under-firing, try using two half shelves instead of a full shelf. Stagger the height of the shelves.


In last week’s Kiln Pointer, Dawn Christensen showed how to make a clay handprint keychain.

Roxanne Sprehe from Green Bay, Wisconsin wrote, “What a fun idea. I can see I will be busy this summer making PMC and clay fingerprint beads of my four granddaughters.”

Jim Hatcher of Helena, Montana wrote, “We recently lost a beloved pet to old age. For remembrance we had paw prints made in clay. It is a delightful way to remember a darling kitty cat.”

Jill Mooney of Temple, Texas wrote, “I so enjoy your pointers. I look forward to each new one. Having moved to Texas, it’s a long way back to see my great nieces and nephew. I had their mom trace around their hands and send to me. I transferred the tracings to fiber paper and slumped one right hand each of the handprints in glass adding each child's name above the print for them to hang in their rooms. The left hands I slumped into a 10" circle for myself.”

Martha Biggar of Art Works Studio in Chilhowie, Virginia wrote, “I make metal clay thumbnails of babies. Often their thumbprints are not fully developed, so I take a small lump of PMC and press the thumbnail into the clay. The image is darling. Then I slip the clay into another piece of metal clay already cut out into a circular shape, make a small hole for attachment as a charm, and print in the baby's name and birth date.”

Thank you for the comments and ideas. It is always a pleasure to hear from readers.

Hoping that you have a festive July 4th,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. - Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

Feel free to email this Kiln Pointer to friends. To read back issues Click here or go to, select “Support,” and then “Kiln Pointers” from the drop menu.

To respond to this Kiln Pointer, press Reply. Your email will go directly to Arnold Howard.

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2006, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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