Clay is a wonderful medium for those who want to learn how to create, and many people find a ready source of material in their area. They may buy a potter’s wheel, and some of them will even set up their own small shop. This is a great hobby for the home, but finished clay pieces often require firing in a kiln. These are expensive to buy and run, so many who do pottery as a hobby need to use someone else’s kiln.
Searching on the internet is the first step, but comparing prices is also important. Small pieces can become expensive due to the cost of firing, and there is no refund if the piece breaks during the process. Price is one reason to shop around, but the potter must also try to find a company that fires many pieces like theirs. This will give them an opportunity to see the process, and it will help them to get to know others with the same needs.
Commercial kilns are run for a profit, but some artists are interested in only recouping their costs. This may be an avenue for the hobbyist to pursue if cost is an issue. An artist with their own kiln is likely to charge only enough to cover their costs, and they believe adding a few extra piece or two is a way to do firings more often.
Companies that do only commercial work are often bound to tight schedules, and they seldom have room for last minute pieces. Artists may wait until they have almost enough to fill their kiln, or they might call favored customers to let them know a firing will be done in the next few days. Either way, it is best for the hobbyist to know and understand their firing needs before making a final choice.