the firing process


Once the mural is complete, I must check each tile individually for any splash marks or missed areas.  I take a sharp dental tool and straighten any lines that need straightening and gently scrape off any splash marks.  If I need to touch up any areas, I use a small paint brush. I then carefully dust off the tile with a dry cloth, making sure not to smear colors into each other.  Next I take a small sponge and clean the bottom of the tile and the sides to make sure that no glaze is on these areas.  Glaze is liquid glass and will adhere to the surface of the kiln shelves or racks if it comes into contact during the firing process. 

  Then I place each clean, finished tile onto a shelf in the kiln racks.  They hold nine tiles each and four fit into my kiln. I utilize the space on top of each rack, so I am able to fire a total of 38 6" x 6" tiles per kiln firing. 

My husband, Steve, helping load the kiln with the kids.

This is the kiln fully loaded.

  After 24 hours and having reached a temperature of 1815 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bummer.  My red, yellow and orange all came out dark.  And the green, purple and blue have problems as well.  I'll have to re-do many tiles for this mural.  This is one of the reasons these murals are expensive and also why I need lots of time to produce them. 

I still have half of the mural to fire, and plenty of tiles to re-do.  Live Aloha!