Hot Kiln Imaging

Dan recently began trying his hand at crystalline glazes and loved the results but wished that he could see the crystals forming. However, you can’t just look inside the kiln while it’s firing at 2,360 degrees Fahrenheit—the intense light would seriously damage your eyes, and even with welding goggles the crystalline glazed porcelain itself is still obscured by the intense radiant light. But this did not deter Dan; he was determined to find a way to safely watch the crystals growing. In collaboration with astrophysicist Bob Taylor, crystalline potter Christine Taylor, and National Geographic Photographer Bruce Dale, Dan has devised a unique process to photograph the crystalline glazes while they are firing inside the kiln. Without damaging either his eyes or the camera, he is able to photograph and “watch” the crystals grow, and when they are appropriately sized and shaped, he turns the kiln off. — Joanna Weaver