Levi and I took the afternoon off today and visited Donna Craven during her first firing after a recent kiln makeover. Donna wood fires in a cross draft kiln designed for her large pots. She had some trouble with her arch beginning to collapse after a few firings, and she recently hired a welder to squeeze her kiln back into shape with some heavy metal I-beams.
It was interesting and informative to see her kiln in action, and I also wanted to see how the new welding was done, as my kiln seems to be suffering from a similar situation, but to a lesser degree.
Her kiln is similar to my design in ways, but much taller and wider. You can walk into her kiln. I have to squat in my kiln. She has two side-stoking ports on each side of the kiln. I don't have side stoking ports, which allow a potter to stoke smaller sized wood toward the back of the kiln to help even out the temperature in a long kiln. I accept that my kiln fires unevenly, and load it accordingly.
Donna's selling her pots next weekend at the Potters Market Invitational in Charlotte. You can see some of her work at DiscoverSeagrove.com.