We often talk about firing items in the kiln and such terms such as "ramping up" and "soaking" are bandied about, but what exactly happens when you are firing your kiln? And what stages are the most crucial?
There are some brilliant articles about the stages of firing, and what happens chemically to your clay as it goes through a firing process. The article talks about six stages, and it explains it in a really interesting way.
Check out "How Temperature Changes Clay"
Another article by the same person, Beth Peterson, is "What is a firing schedule?"
These are very interesting, and written in a way that while it does have some chemistry terms, explains it in an easy to understand way.