Arnold writes the instruction manuals, attends tradeshows, and teaches seminars on kilns. Email Arnold
What do you do outside Paragon?
I practice karate katas and am renovating my house.
What do you find most interesting about kilns?
Electric kilns enable the average busy person to create beautiful art from clay, glass, or steel. You can learn to do that in your spare time. In the past, kilns were mysterious, and only people with many years of experience could fire them.
Heat is magical. The ware that you create could become family heirlooms that will last for generations. What artifacts have survived thousands of years besides ceramics or glass?
Most people would be surprised to know what they could make with a kiln. A small one such as the Xpress-Q-11-A can fire ceramic decals, glass fusing, china painting, copper enameling, stoneware, porcelain, silver clay, and lost wax casting. You can even heat treat small high carbon steel knife blades.
What are your favorite types of kiln-fired ware?
Raku, glass fusing, and pottery. I have also seen porcelain dolls that looked so real they were eerie. Imagine making a porcelain doll of your own child.
I enjoy handmade knives. I own several. I remember my first pocketknife, which a friend of my father’s gave me when I was seven.
What do you find most interesting about working at Paragon?
I have always been interested in factories. At Paragon we turn skids of firebricks, boxes of cords and switches, and rolls of steel into kilns amidst the whine of air-powered tools. Factories are busy, exciting places.
Describe a humorous or dramatic experience that you’ve had at Paragon.
Many years ago I reached into a box of catalogs stored in the Paragon print shop. What felt like a red-hot needle shot through the tip of my ring finger, and I yanked my hand back. The pain was almost incomprehensible, the most intense I had ever felt.
I plunged my hand into a large glass filled with ice from the refrigerator, which was kept in the print shop, and immediately the pain lessened. Within 10 minutes it was only a dull throb, and I went back to work.
I turned the box over, spilling out the catalogs. In the corner of the box was a four-inch-long (including the tail span) beige scorpion. It cowered from me. I was relieved that it was only a scorpion and not a brown recluse spider. Unlike the deadly scorpions I had seen in North Africa, the ones here in Mesquite are relatively harmless. I took it outside and released it into a large field.
That is one experience I will always remember. For the next six months, I checked every box and shelf before touching!