Electric Kilns and Firing Live Online Course

Course Images

Electric Kilns and Firing Live Online Course


What is the course about?

This course gives you all the information you need to select, maintain and fire an electric kiln in a safe and efficient way. It also goes over what happens to clays and glazes when they are fired.

The course is run over eight weekly sessions at 19:00 – 20:30.
Also recorded and put onto the course web page so you can view them at other times
Plus an additional discussion session to discuss the course material, and any questions you may have with your kiln and firing - date and time to be set at the start of the course.

What will we cover?

The course covers everything you are likely to need to know about electric kilns and firing them. It is ideal for you if you've just bought a kiln and want to get to grips with it, or if you use a studio where work is fired for you and you want to understand what happens, or if you've had a kiln for a while but aren't sure if you're getting the most out of it.

The course covers choosing, installing and maintaining your kiln; kiln safety; how a kiln heats up, how we measure it with thermocouples and cones, and how we control it with the kiln controller; what happens to clays and glazes during the firing; how best to load your kiln and when to unload it; and firing faults, their prevention and cure.

The course doesn’t deal with older technology such as kiln sitters or kilns controlled manually through dials.

What will I achieve?

By the end of this course you should have achieved the following:

  • Identify and understand all the components found in an electric kiln and its controller
  • Know what to look for when buying a kiln, whether new or 2nd hand
  • Understand the mechanisms by which a kiln heats up, and how different materials used in kiln construction and in kiln furniture (shelves etc.) behave
  • Understand temperature and heatwork, and how they are measured
  • Understand how clays and glazes, and their constituent materials, are transformed through the firing process, and what fumes may be given off from the kiln
  • Loading and unloading your kiln, including the best spacing of shelves and positionimg of pots
  • Understand and use your kiln controller, and monitor your firing
  • Determining the best firing schedules for your work
  • Identify firing faults, their identification and cure
  • Understand safety issues - heat, electricity, and fumes
  • Learn about kiln maintenance, and how to diagnose faults
  • Know about how to install the kiln

What do I get?

  • Eight live lectures with questions and discussions, lasting about 90 minutes each week, plus an additional discussion session
  • Recordings of all lectures are put on the course web page for later viewing
  • Downloadable PDFs of all presentations
  • Additional online course material, giving background info and greater depth
  • Premium level access to the Tech part of my web site, containing much more information, references etc.
  • Course completion certificate

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Beginner to intermediate.

You should have some experience of making and firing pots in a pottery studio, whether you do the firing or it is done for you.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course is primarily run through the weekly online sessions, which are a live lecture where you can also ask questions or get a discussion going.

Additional material that you may wish to explore is on the course website. This will help you go deeper into the subject matter, should you wish to do so.

There will be a discussion session towards the end of the course, where we can discuss any of the course material or any questions you may have about kilns and firing.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs or requirements.

Do I get a certificate or anything at the end?

Yes. A course completion certificate (as a PDF) will be sent to all those who wish to receive one.

Feedback from students

Again, Tim, the course was fantastic! I have learned so much from the three courses that I have taken with you! I feel better prepared to set up my own studio and work safely with the equipment and materials. I highly recommend all of your courses! Cathy, Norwich CT, USA

This is an intensive, indepth course on all aspects of buying and owning a kiln. Tim is very generous with his time and sharing of his considerable knowledge. including additional material and recommendations.  Noreen, London, GB

The Kiln Course was very useful to me as someone who has always been a Night-School potter and now embarking on my own set-up with a kiln 
Jeremy, Christchurch, GB


  • Delivered Online

  • All levels

About Tim Thornton

Tim Thornton
Tim Thornton

I have been making pots for over 12 years, starting with evening classes and now running my own studio.

I have an engineering and scientific background, which has driven me to learn and understand the technicalities of our craft. I am now taking this knowledge and distilling it into a number of courses, giving other potters the information they need to know in an easily digested form.

Read more about Tim Thornton