|This is my big kiln, I also have one smaller kiln that does a single piece at a time|
People ask me if I know what I will get when I open the kiln. When I started fusing that was a very real question. My results were similar to what I hoped for 80% of the time and 20 % of the time I was surprised, and rarely in a good way. After 8 years of fusing I can say that I am accurate (instead of similar) probably 95% of the time and when I get surprised it is almost always because I tried a shortcut.
So now I'm on a fusing marathon to get ready for One of a Kind. Prepping for this show is stressful, I'm always afraid I won't have enough stock, or I will have the wrong stock. I make spreadsheets to figure out how to maximize my fusing cycles and I plan to work at least a few hours EVERY DAY between now and the show. 44 fusing days until I load the car and it feels way too short.
So what is the most effective way to maximize my kilns? Patience! As I loaded the kilns tonight I considered putting one extra piece in. It would make the fit a little tight, but I am fairly sure that the pieces wouldn't have ended up touching while they fired. I put the extra piece on the kiln shelf, I started to walk away and I stopped. If I misjudged this I would be reworking a 15" bowl, an 8" bowl and possibly scraping/refinishing a kiln shelf. I considered the risk and decided to be patient.
Hopefully this new attitude actually nets more successful pieces in December. I'll never know but that's my theory and I'm sticking to it!