In 1905 Spanish philosopher George Santayana wrote these well-known words “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” And, for anyone that uses a kiln on a regular basis that quote can have significant meaning.
That is why we recommend that EVERYONE keep a firing or project log. We cannot stress this enough as it is the easiest ways to learn about your kiln and recall exactly what glass, metals, materials, molds, and most importantly, firing schedule you used. Over time, a properly kept log is critical to keeping track of what you’ve done. It will help you learn the particulars of your kiln plus it will go a long way towards avoiding future mistakes.
In many ways, a firing or project log is the most underappreciated tool in your studio. All too often, the enthusiasm to fire overcomes the need to keep records of the firing, resulting in unusable comments. This is an enormous mistake. The firing or project log is one of the most essential tools you have. The combination of your kiln, the materials you select, and the designs you create are exclusive to you. No one else can precisely duplicate the conditions in your kiln, so it’s up to you to keep records that are detailed enough to allow you to repeat good firings and avoid repeating bad ones.
Some people suggest that a printed log like the Bullseye Kiln-Glass Project Notes, the Paragon Ramp-Hold Firing Record or the Joy of Fusing Project Log, while others favor a simple notebook. Digital logs are also a popular option.
It really doesn't matter which log you chose as long as you document, document, document! Some firings will require minimal notes while others might demand several paragraphs, pictures and/or sketches. Most importantly, keep you log in your work area. Use it religiously and enter essential information about each firing.
As you become more knowledgeable, you may find that many of your firings are similar and require minimal entries. But regardless of your experience level, don't stop logging your firings, as your log is a priceless tool!