Obliterated, destroyed, demolished.
The results of my C.C.I .(ceramic crime investigation): I can eliminate moisture. The piece was bone dry. I believe the cause behind this mess was contaminated clay. The remains contained a few tiny curls, about twice the thickness of hair and only about 3/8 inch long, of what appeared to be a lighter colored clay. My guess is, that while I am very careful to clean the wheel, tools, etc. when switching from tan stoneware to white stoneware I was less concerned switching from white to tan. I guess I figured it wouldn't be noticeable. Yes, but what about the different shrinkage rates? Oh. There are bits and pieces of this thing all over the kiln, including the elements. The good news is that the berry bowl I had sitting inside it came out unscathed. Same for a couple of saucers to the side of it. Everything else in the kiln, made with the lighter colored clay, came out fine. Of course, it was a commission. Natch.