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Ground Breaking

Reuse, recycle, reduce. We hear these ideas all the time and I tend to think they are good ones. It comes in especially great when someone gives me an old kiln.  That is exactly what happened when the electric kiln that we used for cone 6 glaze firing gave up the ghost at Callanwolde. It’s a good size kiln, much bigger than my electric kiln but I’m not interested in rewiring this one. You may remember I did that with my electric kiln when I installed the kiln sitter (you can read about that here) which I got from another free kiln.

My plan for this kiln is to make it a reduction kiln since that is the look I like best for my pots. I am even considering adding a stoke hole so I can feed some small piece of wood into the kiln for some ash and wood effects.

Before I can start converting it into a gas kiln I need to build a kiln shed. My current kiln room is fine for the electric kiln but it’s too crowded to add flame to the mix. I’m designing a simple lean-to type shed that will have a m…

The Right Tools For The Job

If you work with your hands you most likely also work with tools.  Even if you don't work with your hands you most likely work with tools of some sort, like a computer, or a vehicle.  As a potter I've found the need to create some of my own tools despite the myriad tools you can find in potter's supply stores.  Sometimes the best tools can be found in kitchen stores or made by cutting up a plastic card like a high interest credit card.  That one has some other benefits that I won't get into here.

Here's a picture of a few of mine.

Pottery Tools
The one that looks like a bow tie on the top left is a measuring tool I made from a plastic credit card.  It's 2 inches across on the left side, 1/2 inch in the middle, and 1 inch across on the right side.  This is useful for making things like mixing bowls or sets.  It's easier to handle than the ruler, especially with messy hands. To the right of that is a large bowl scraper.  I think you get one of these when you buy a mixer.  I stole it from our kitchen so I'd be called upon to clean the frosting out of the bowls.  It's worked so far.  It also makes a nice bowl rib.  To the left of that is a piece of wood I found outside a wood shop, I thought it was interesting so I sanded the edges smooth and have played with it as a texture tool but also as a batt lifter.  It works really well.  The other wooden tool is for creating a rounded foot on a pot.  I had made one out of a credit card but asked a friend who loves to work in wood to make this for me.  The triangle tool is also a pastry tool.  I'm not sure how you'd use it in the kitchen but it ads some interesting textures to clay.

What are some of your favorite tools?  Are any of them custom made?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


  1. So THAT is where all my kitchen tools went! The triangular tool is for making different patterns on frosted cakes (forgives one's icing mistakes).

    1. Oop, caught.
      Sorry, I don't have your lemon zest tool either.

  2. I have a few that I can not do without.
    Janet, that's what that tool is for.
    I might take mine to the kitchen.

    1. Apparently Janet doesn't need it when she's frosting cakes, maybe you don't either Meredith.


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