There comes a time in every potter's life where they come to a crossroads and need to decide what direction they wish to head. Do you want to continue with pottery as a hobby or are you inclined to take a stab at making some money with your craft? The right answer to this question can lead to years of personal enjoyment and satisfaction as well as a lucrative business if your skills and style are marketable. But whichever route you chose, you will need to have the right equipment to grow either your hobby or your business. Aside from the clay itself, the art clay kiln can be one of the most important tools in a potter's studio.
There are many broad factors to take into consideration when beginning your kiln buying process. Some quick but thorough research will save you a lot of trouble and get you a kiln that will last for years to come. These are just a few of the many questions you will want to ask yourself. What space limitations do you have? You don't want to end up with something that dominates your studio space. Are there local building code restrictions on the type and placement of your kiln? You want to make sure you are following all the laws. What materials do you work with most often and will that be changing or expanding? Do you prefer electric kilns or gas fired kilns? There is much to consider with both options. What is the budget you have to work with? Be sure to do your homework carefully just as you would with any other significant investment. The right kiln can only enhance your art.
Once you have a general idea of the kiln you would like keep in mind these more detailed aspects of kilns when you start the serious shopping either online or at the local potter's supply shop. Square, rectangular or round? Which shape is the right one for your projects and space? Besides different shapes features vary greatly by manufacturer. Pay attention to the kiln elements in the models you are considering. Their size will play a role in the temperatures your kiln can reach and their ease of replacement is also important. Finally, research the kiln manufacturers themselves. Who are the reputable firms that have been around a while and who will be around for a long time to come to stand behind and support your new kiln? A good kiln should last you for many years and will produce countless works of art. Make sure you can get the parts necessary to keep it running at its best.
One of your best resources for information on your new art clay kiln is the American Art Clay Company's website. This is a one stop resource for everything you will need to know about kilns. Electric kilns or gas kilns, round or square, you will find the information you need here. AMACO also has countless reference sheets on everything from kiln elements to kiln safety. Once you've done your research you can also buy your kiln direct from AMACO.