I had been struggling with the glaze firing for our orbs (shown at left) featured in our Orb Collection line of modern light fixtures. The exterior is fully glazed and the pieces need to be elevated in some way so they don’t stick to the kiln shelves. Attempts to balance the orbs on a post or janky hand-built pedestal (front, right) didn’t work. I found that if the orbs weren’t well supported, the bottom opening would warp during firing. The tricky thing about kiln fixtures, is that they have to withstand firing temps - in this case up to cone 5 (~2200º F). In the end, I realized that I needed to invest the energy into some proper custom ceramic pedestals (3D print shown in background).
As I already had the Orb modeled in the 3D program Fusion360, it was relatively easy to create a form that followed the interior of the orb. I had to make sure that the elevated part of the pedestal would fit through the circular opening on the underside of the orb, allowing for shrinkage of the orb during firing. The pedestal is designed to support the orb and keep it level to minimize warpage.
Next, I had the pedestal 3D printed in PLA (thanks fictiv!). I had it printed in 2 halves, split along the parting line. That simplified the process of delineating the part line when I poured the plaster mold.
Here’s the first slip-cast piece. It’s cast in the same stoneware as the orbs. The part line is a bit rough, but it’s OK as only the top surface needs to be cleaned up.
And here you can see a gang of our new pedestals! I wasn’t enthused about investing such time + energy into a simple fixture, but I knew that it would pay off. This is why I was extra elated when I opened the kiln earlier this week and found 4 orbs in top form after a glaze firing.
Here's our first Orb Trio to feature our new and improved orbs; they’re the culmination of months of refinement, new molds, troubleshooting, and new techniques. It's also the first version in this black on black colorway. Thanks for following along!