I’ve never subscribed to the adage that things happen for a reason. I endorse more of a things happen … and then you do other things. The difference lies in passive versus active involvement in those happening things. Case in point: eight days before the Bethlehem VegFest 2018, with two more glaze firings needed, my kiln failed. If this event happened for a reason, I’d be sitting here still pondering and wondering why. Instead, I planted my face in front of some YouTube videos to see what I could do about this situation. First step, change the thermocouple; the process looked easy, and it was. Done and done. Closed the panel and voila, the temperature readout was 450 degrees, and huh? Then FAIL flashed again on the readout. (FYI I didn’t attempt a repair on a 450 degree kiln). So, I opened the panel up again, only to find the end of an element had disconnected. Ah, perhaps that element had failed. Back to YouTube I went. Well, replacing an element looked a tad more involved than the thermocouple, although not exceedingly so. So, onto the web I went in search of elements, and found they were $83 each. Since the kiln holds six elements, I wondered if I should buy one, or extras in case I botch the installation? More importantly, was it time to get professional help?
It was time to get professional help. So off to The Ceramic Shop I went and met Bryson, their kiln repair guru. His knowledge of kilns and their electrical functioning was impressive. I realized that this was exactly where I needed to be and who I needed to be having this conversation with. After lengthy discussion about the possible cause for the fail, possible solutions, while sharing my photo diary of the kiln guts, we settled on a course of action.
Was the day saved? Did I get my kiln up and running in time to make the deadline for the VegFest? No. When things happen, they just happen. There’s no pottery of gold at the end of this rainbow. Just this: my kiln failed and I tried to fix it, then realized I needed professional help and got it… a week after VegFest.
Worry not, there was enough pottery for the event, judging by the state of the Subaru…