Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why is Ben Belknap so happy?

As you can see by his facial expression fine artist Ben Belknap is feeling pretty good about the solid block of clay he just fired in the new TOKI KILN. In fact, Belknap has bragging rights to firing big hunks of clay since learning how to fire the TOKI KILN with the new s1, SMART Controller, which has a dedicated DRY CLAY feature along with a 51 hour bisque program for firing thick sculptural pieces. Follow along as the story unfolds on how he successfully fired a solid 25 pound block of clay. First, Belknap removed a chunk of porcelain clay from it's plastic bag, and placed it on a kiln shelf in the middle of the kiln. He then pressed the DRY CLAY button, and input 48 hours. After 24 hours the clay was still steaming off the 5 pounds of water contained in the block of clay. At the end of forty eight hours the clay was dry, and ready for firing. He set the kiln in the AUTO CONE FIRE mode on the 51 hour bisque fire setting, to Cone 05, 1888 F. He closed the lid, and pressed START. The s1 Smart controller took Belknap less than 12 seconds to program. You can see why he is so happy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jeffrey Warnock

Jeffrey Warnock
M.F.A. University of California, Santa Barbara

I had purchased an AIM 88 test kiln over fifteen years ago to use primarily for testing glazes and firing small pieces. I liked the kiln because it fired to cone 10 but also ran off of a standard 115V household outlet which did not require any rewiring. This kiln has been extremely valuable to me over the years I have used it. The kiln is simple to use but it had required me to manually adjust the temperature control which became very time consuming and inefficient. Often times I would need to turn it up at odd times during the day (and sometimes in the middle of the night) which could be very inconvenient.

I visited Leslie Ceramics to replace the kiln with a electronically controlled kiln when John Toki introduced to me the Toki Controller. The Toki Controller could be easily adapted to my existing Aim kiln and had the Orton Cone temperatures and firing schedules preprogrammed into it. I was sold immediately after seeing how easy it was to use. The controller interface was intuitive and I was using it after very little training. I was also interested in the controller after learning that I could add my own ramp and hold times into six different saved programs; this was perfect as I also use my Aim kiln for metal casting ? burning out invested wax using the lost wax casting method. It was exactly what I had hoped for...a controller suited for both disciplines. I only wished I had been using this controller years ago as it has already proved to be an extremely valuable addition to my studio.

Honey Purse
Mixed Media: stoneware, resin, leather, brass
7" by 4.5" by 10"