Kilns have been an integral part of pottery and ceramics for thousands of years all over the world. Today’s modern electric kilns allow for maximum temperature control and the best continuity in final results. Electric kilns can be programmed to ramp according to schedule and allow the ceramic pieces to anneal properly to prevent cracks and breaks.
When clay is fired in a kiln, the heat creates changes in the molecular structure that allow certain elements within the clay to crystalize. This causes some shrinking of the final piece but creates the rigidity that is necessary for a finished ceramic piece prior to glazing. Once the pottery is glazed, it is fired again and a new molecular change happens that allows the glaze to bond to the ceramic, creating a glass like surface and sheen.
Pottery and ceramic artists will need proper equipment to maintain their kilns and to handle their projects when coming out of the kiln as some pieces may still be hot. Proper kiln maintenance is integral to accurate firing schedules and temperatures for pottery and ceramic glazing as well as glass fusing.