Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Day the New Kiln Died. And they were singing bye bye Miss....

Okay so here it is, the dreaded day - March 8, 2011, that sparks flew around inside the kiln while I heard popping and cracking.  I had just put my 17th mandrel in the kiln and had returned to my torch when I heard the noise.  I was pretty startled when I looked over at the kiln and saw an unusual flashing glow around the kiln doors so I hurried back to the kiln not knowing what I should touch or if I should touch anything at all.  Should I unplug it?  Should I flip the switch off?  I'm wondering if I'm going to need my fire extinguisher?  Should I call 911?  Should I turn my gas off?  But before I could make any decisions the popping and glowing had stopped and I noticed the temperature had spiked to about 1000 degrees and then was dropping rapidly.  I peaked in the door to see if a mandrel had touched the coil and didn't see anything so I pulled the plug and hoped for the best.  I called Pam and Mike (kiln maker) to see if they could give me some guidance over the phone but had to leave a message.  I turned everything off and hoped the kiln would slowly bring the beads down to temp naturally so they wouldn't crack.  So far the beads look good and I think they are small enough that they will be durable but I will continue to wait before I use them and even at that I will only use these for my personal jewelry.  These were supposed to be for a customer - a custom order of course is when this stuff happens right?  At least the good news is, I talked to Pam today and we did some diagnosing and I sent her some photos to review and it looks like my kiln will be fixed soon! 

So until then, here are the photos from that day: 
 These beads were for a necklace and these beads:
were for matching earrings.  I think the set on the left were the best match.  I am not too happy with the center set as they are too uneven in design for my liking but the last set turned out very nice but the color does not match well.  I'll keep that last set for another personal project.

Now it seems I'm getting lots of requests for pink and black these days so these next photos are for the same customer who wanted a necklace and matching earrings.  I'll remake all these as soon as my kiln is fixed.  Thank goodness my customer was not in a hurry - thanks Betty!  For the necklace she just wanted one single focal bead hanging from a chain.  Not sure which one she will like but since I have to make new ones anyway, I'm curious to know what you all like if you care to comment. 
Well the kiln was only used 3 times before I managed to fry it somehow.  Not sure what happened but it will be fixed soon!!!  So it's on to my jewelry making phase which I need to do anyway so I can't complain too much.  Pam and Mike make wonderful kilns and are great to work with - unlike my experience with Paragon customer service.  I loved that kiln too but this new one is super sweet!!!!

As always thanks for reading my blog and watching me learn and grow with my bead making.  I love it more than any other hobby/art I have ever done before and I see myself doing this for a very long time.  I love everyone's comments and I appreciate all the support and encouragement from all my friends, customers, and family!!!!

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