Electric Kiln Ceramics, 4th Edition

The electric kiln has helped to open the doors of the ceramic world to more and more people due to its convenience, ease of use, and economical benefits, and this...(Scroll for more.)


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Softcover | 256 Pages
Order code B144 | ISBN 978-1-57498-341-8

…new edition of Electric Kiln Ceramics is a must-read for anyone firing electric kilns. With the wealth of information on making work, decorating work, glazing work, and firing work, this book is not just a manual for the kiln itself, but for the whole studio as well.

This fourth edition of Electric Kiln Ceramics, Richard Zakin’s seminal work on understanding and using the electric kiln to its fullest potential, has been completely rewritten, reorganized, and expanded by Frederick Bartolovic. Hand picked by Zakin to carry the title forward, Bartolovic has added new sections with step-by-step instruction on forming and finishing pieces for electric firing, schedules for firing both manual and computerized kilns, and has lavishly illustrated the book with completely new images that highlight many of the most exciting results that are possible with electric firing. Electric Kiln Ceramics has become the path countless professionals and enthusiasts have followed to gain understanding and proficiency working with electric kilns in the ceramics studio. From Zakin embracing and promoting the electric kiln as a tool that yields exciting results to Bartolovic presenting it within the frame of contemporary practice, technology, and aesthetics, Electric Kiln Ceramics promises to continue inspiring and educating ceramic artists for generations to come.


Three books in one!

Electric Kiln Ceramics is separated into three chapters on Clay, Glaze, and The Electric Kiln, but the book covers each of these in such depth that each chapter could be a book on its own. Each chapter is logically organized, making searching for specific information easy.


CLICK HERE to download an excerpt from this chapter. Starting with the most basic definition of the properties of clay, different varieties and their qualities, and choosing clay bodies, we move right into practical mixing and testing clays for various purposes. Then on to forming methods from pinch and coil to slab building and throwing, all the way to more involved practices of extruding and molding (with a section on making molds as well). In addition to showing the basics of these processes, instructions for variations are given. These could easily be lifted out as assignments in an educational setting, or as personal challenges as well. You could stop here and have a full education on how to make work out of clay, because the authors provide several methods for finishing claywork without glazes, using various clays and surface techniques to make clay itself the star!


CLICK HERE to download an excerpt from this chapter. Not only do the authors cover the basics of what a ceramic glaze is and what it does, but they classify them by ingredient, opacity, visual texture, and by use, so that you can move forward to mixing and testing in the way that is most comfortable for you. Much of this chapter is spent on the practical topic of applying glazes—this is, after all, the part of the ceramic process that can really be exploited to great results in an electric kiln. From the simple to the complex, dozens of glazing techniques are covered with step-by-step instruction. And no discussion on glazing would be complete without addressing safety with materials. From handling raw materials safely, to making sure your fired work is safe to use, you’ll learn how to develop safe glazing practices in your studio. You’ll also learn how to troubleshoot and avoid glaze flaws, or how to achieve these “special effects” if that’s how you choose to see them.

The Electric Kiln

CLICK HERE to download an excerpt from this chapter. Even though the electric kiln is meant to make the ceramic process accessible and successful for everyone, there are many ways to build and fire them, and you’ll get a broad view of all of these possibilities in this chapter. From design elements and structural concerns that can help you in choosing an electric kiln, to understanding the electrical components that make it work, you’ll have all the information necessary to begin working with your kiln. Starting with loading, understanding basic firing concepts and heatwork (more than just temperature), the authors walk you all the way through the various ways to monitor and control your kiln from preheat through cool-down, from bisque firing through glaze firing, and all the way to maintenance and repair. The kiln is the heart of any studio, but it’s not alone, and this book would not be complete without an overview of the other equipment and tools often found in a ceramic studio, from hand tools to large machinery, your own personal studio needs are covered, as well as advice on how to setup a studio.

Perhaps most important is a section on studio safety that covers kiln safety, respiratory protection, ventilation, dust, and equipment safety. Whether you have a studio at home or at school, this section is essential for staying healthy and happy and making great work! 

Excerpt from Foreword

Ceramic artists have come a long way toward a more creative and pluralistic vision of materials and process. Contemporary creative problem-solvers envision and realize what can be done with a given tool in the service of personal expression. Real clay artists do use electric kilns, thanks to the pioneers who refused to listen to the nay-sayers. We stand on their shoulders to reach our goals. Richard Zakin’s previous electric kiln books blazed the trail for people who developed this work. I certainly owe him large thanks, and have been a fan since the first 1981 edition of Electric Kiln Ceramics (the same year I finished my BFA and went onward as a self-identified electric-firer.) Thank you, Richard, for putting your work and information together in publication, and being our cheerleader for making electric kiln firing exciting research. Thanks to Frederick Bartolovic for taking up the torch (or maybe that should be taking up the infinite control switch?) and adding to the archive to keep it growing and relevant. —Linda Arbuckle

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