My New L&L Kiln

Investing in a kiln was a hard decision to make three years ago in Austin when I first started my business, but I found a used kiln on Craigslist for $700 and ended up purchasing it. I tend to have extreme buyers remorse and I'm very risk-adverse, so purchasing large investments is difficult for me. I moved it halfway across the country to San Francisco where I ended up not needing it since I was in a studio that already had a kiln, so I eventually sold it.

Fast forward to two months ago when I was shopping around for kilns. I didn't know anything about phases, amps or volts. Luckily Aardvark, the ceramics shop closest to me, put me in touch with an electrician who works on kilns. He suggested looking at L&L Kilns, which I had never heard of. Up until this past week, I had only used Skutt and Paragon kilns. 

L&L Kilns have ceramic holders around the kiln that hold the elements in place. Instead of pushing the elements into your soft brick and pinning them in which eventually corrodes your brick over time, you simply place the elements into these holders thereby elongating the life of your soft brick and keeping it tidy. Because I fire frequently, I should replace my elements every year. The wear and tear to the soft brick caused by taking the elements out and putting them back in made me think that L&L may be better in the long run for me. 

Photo Credit: Hot Kilns

Photo Credit: Hot Kilns

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I heard that I should purchase a kiln for my needs in five years; however, we didn't have the electricity needed for what I actually wanted, so I ended up with the largest kiln our breaker could comfortable handle, which is 60 amps. I spoke with a retailer of L&L Kilns and he answered my lengthy and in depth questions. I sat on this information for a few days and then decided to go with what he suggested, an Easy-Fire e23t kiln.

Photo Credit: Big Ceramic Store

Photo Credit: Big Ceramic Store

It was shipped to me on a pallet. I unboxed it and read the huge binder of instructions that came with the kiln about setting it up, using the control panel, maintenance, and repairs. I eventually set it up and ran a test fire where everything worked perfectly. I had amazing customer service from both the retailer as well as L&L directly, which makes a huge difference when you don't really know what you are doing. There are also a ton of how-to videos L&L has on their website, which are a great resource. 

Something I love about running a business is that I am constantly learning, and buying and setting up a kiln is no exception. I now know what to look for when I need to move or set up another studio and purchase more kilns as I expand. I'm excited to see how this kiln holds up and eventually how easy it will be (I hope!) to replace these elements compared to a Skutt. If you have any questions about my L&L kiln, feel free to email me

Featured in Loam Magazine

Photo Credit: Kate Parrish | Life on Pine

Photo Credit: Kate Parrish | Life on Pine

Kate Weiner of Loam Magazine, an environmental arts magazine dedicated to promoting the work of pioneering individuals and organizations in the realm of sustainability, reached out to interview me on cultivating creative community, building a business, and finding flow.

A ceramic artist and advocate for the environment, Gopi Shah's ceramics are a vibrant study in color and craft. After stumbling on Gopi's Instagram feed, I swiftly fell for her carved hanging planters and "open hands." I love that Gopi uses her platform to not only support organizations such as the National Resources Defense Council and Planned Parenthood but also to invite us into deeper, delicious engagement with our surroundings

You can read the full article here.

Still We Rise Auction

I'm participating in the Still We Rise auction benefiting Planned Parenthood and my former employer, Natural Resources Defense Council this week, June 20-27. Over 100 artists and small businesses are contributing to the auction that will raise funds for these two organizations. The last auction raised over $16K for ACLU! 

Before I started my business, I worked for a few non-profits including Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and NRDC. I'm still very interested in toxicology, public health and the environment and am thrilled that through this new venture, I can give back to these amazing organizations. 

To bid, head over to the Still We Rise Instagram and select which item or business you'd like to bid on. I'm giving away $100 shop credit, which you can bid on here.

West Coast Craft

West Coast Craft is coming up this weekend, June 10-11 at Fort Mason Center! I will be participating in Booth D17 along with many other amazing small businesses. Cindy of WKNDLA did this great photo shoot of many WCC vendors including Concrete Geometric, Pigeon Toe Ceramics, Debbie Bean, Lucy Michel, Laura Wagner, The Small + Savage Wild, Munbeibi Studio, and Gopi Shah Ceramics! What a lovely shoot and I'm so excited to see old friends and meet new ones as Long Beach's newest ceramic artist!

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Maker Faire This Weekend

The 12th Annual Maker Faire is happening at the San Mateo Event Center May 19-21. Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

I will be selling my pottery in Booth 12 along with many other makers, including my good friend, Leah Staley Designs. Come stop by and say hello to us! You can purchase your tickets here or email me for a discount ticket!