The agony of the S cracks.



I took another flat tile with a huge S shaped crack in it out of the kiln today. It was not a piece I had expected much from, because it was on Black Mountain clay and I didn’t think the glazes would come out but the colors were wonderful and gave the piece depth. So then I was really disappointed with the failure. I have been losing way too many large tiles to the dreaded S cracking and I’m are trying to figure out what to do. I have made a lot of flat tiles but recently many of them are cracking. Not just little cracks. It looks like tiny bombs were detonated all along a line and when I open the kiln, the 2 pieces of the tile are lying a perfect half inch apart.Today I decided on a plan to try to avoid the dreaded S cracks: Try everything I’ve heard or read about at once. I will roll the clay in several directions, dry it on a wire rack, score the back of the piece, and then fire it on sand or the rigid sides from tile racks.  Oh, and give offerings to the kiln godesses. Any other ideas or experiences?

Yesterday I read a comment on Deborah Woods‘ blog about Christmas decorations in California. The person said it was like “cartoon Christmas”.   When I first moved here from the East, I remember thinking how absolutely weird colored lights looked on trees that had leaves, and flowers blooming while Christmas music was  playing made me laugh at how crazy California was. But I was so glad to be through with snow and freezing temperatures. The excitement of snow for me, wore off by the time I was about 8. I never dream of a White Christmas unless the white is a sun-bleached beach!


3 responses to “The agony of the S cracks.

  1. I love the idea of saying prayers to the kilm godesses ! In my days of making pottery I should have done that more often, perhaps. 🙂

    Here’s one crazy new fun use for pottery pieces of a medium-small size: I’ve got one of my first ceramic blue garden lizards sitting on the just-forming baby cauliflower head…and holding down a big leaf on top to blanch it. This makes me doubly happy…an intimate meeting of pottery and vegetable. I get a smile every time I pass by.

    Thanks for your great blogs, Barbara!

  2. these look like dunting…cooling off too fast. i stand tiles in the bisque on their edges, up and down, get more in, cool off slower. and fire down slowly. program it in electronic kiln or put on bottom burns on low after shut off for a manual kiln til 500 degrees C.

    see my blog for not the best example of standing on edge.

  3. Thank you, Teresa. I really appreciate your advice. I will work on reprogramming the kiln for a slower cool down. Yay! Sometihing concrete to try.

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