Thursday, January 11, 2024

Microwaves, kilns, and learning curves

Mr. Pixie gifted me a microwave kiln for Christmas.

'The heck is a microwave kiln' you ask? Its a little round chamber you pop in the microwave that heats up and allows you to fire pottery, metal clay, and glass fusing.

When you get a microwave kiln that also means you need a microwave, clay, safety gloves, glazes, kiln paper, a million little bits and bobs and a whole whack of patience.

Earthenware buttons bisque fired in microwave kiln

It seems unreal that you can create little clay objects and successfully fire them in a microwave, and to do so in a fraction of the time it would take in a regular kiln. And yet, fire it does.

There's definitely a learning curve and much experimenting, and trying, and practicing, and failing! But there's a joy in that part of the creative process, and so much satisfaction when you manage to pull your experiences together and say "Wow! I learned a new skill!"

Glazed buttons ready for second firing.

I'd read a bunch of posts/comments that said that glaze firing would be impossible in the microwave, that temps required would not be possible... but I've seen loads of projects that prove the contrary, and managed some really cute results myself. Just look at the shiny happy buttons below

Finished glazed handmade buttons.

While you'll be seeing clay projects pop up in my timelines, I probably won't be doing any tutorials for using a microwave kiln. There are just too many variables to consider (clay type, humidity, kiln size, microwave wattage, direction of the wind, alignment of the planets) and that makes tutorials difficult when many people need/want specific direction.

All that said, if you've been considering grabbing one of these hot little gadgets, go for it! I've had soooo much fun with mine over the past couple of weeks. If you're a craft nerd who loves the process of learning, you'll likely find this a rewarding addition to your creative arsenal. 

Be safe & have fun!