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  • Zara Lyness

Murphy's Law, new website, new blog

If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.... so just before I get ready to register on the Belfast School of Art Fine Art Masters course I get the opportunity to buy a front loading kiln. Great for the vertically challenged, but it arrives untested and the previous controller possibly came from the Battlestar Gallactica. Undaunted, the power lines are duly installed and we are ready to test fire using my (also slightly archaic) Bentrup contoller. After 6 hours of a rapid 30 degrees C ascent (should be 60) we know something is wrong. A flurry of swapping thermocouples and controllers and the temperature rises alarmingly through the hundreds, gradually slowing to finish at 1100. Not quite the bisque fire as planned. What did we learn? My Bentrup controller and kiln thermocouple are not talking to each other, the kiln can shoot to 1100 degrees C in 7, rather than 12 hours, the new power cables can handles the load, always stay on the good side of your kiln maintenance person!

Described as (and now christened) a 'Volvo' of a kiln, I am now set with a new controller and ready for the next test fire. It was interesting to see the state of the low fire cones after a surprise hike in temperature, and a lesson learned in not applying batt wash to new shelves.

Does the world need another blog, probably not. But as I am starting a new chapter in academic life, a new website and on a steep learning curve, sharing may help another rookie in the world of ceramics or encourage another late starter to change career in later life.

After crashing and burning the first time around at university I didn't ever expect to complete a Fine Art degree, nor the opportunities that have followed. And so my journal begins...

Vitrified cones from test fire no.1

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©2019 by Zara Lyness Visual Artist.