The Kiln Fields


Before starting the firing process it is essential to actually make something to put in the kiln. Fortunately, the Reporting Team were able to infiltrate the pottery and find some instructions:-

The good pot guide in the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 1

Aha, the totem pole of all knowledge. DIY and home furnishing stores regularly send spies to try and steal this!

The good pot guide in the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 2

Chapter 1 - Different clay types showing the amount of shrinkage that normally occurs.

The good pot guide in the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 3

Chapter 2 - These are examples of various glaze materials.

The good pot guide in the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 4

Chapter 3 - Like the legend says, the end result usually achieved with the different glaze types.

The good pot guide in the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 5

Chapter 4 - These are examples of various ash glaze tests.

The good pot guide in the Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 6

Finally, the cooking instructions. Actually, Trevor keeps a temperature log of each firing so that he can note where variations produce different results. Yup, folks, part of the beauty of this work is that you can never be 100% sure what will come out of the kiln.

Ok, team, get those wheels spinning and sling some pots.

What do you mean, your legs aren't long enough? OK, then, here's some plasticine, see what you can do with that.

And hurry up, Trev will be back in five minutes ...

The stcked kiln before firing, Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 1

And here we have the result of the Reporting Team's handiwork. Well, actually the result of four weeks labour at the pottery. It takes days just to stack the thing.

[Note colour, or relative lack of it and prepare to be dazzled]

The stcked kiln before firing, Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 2

The kiln looks like it ought to be in Fort Knox!. The white stuff that looks like polystyrene is the insulation and is remarkably effective. You can (with permission and supervision obviously) actually put your hand on the outside of the kiln even when it's cranked up to over 1200 degrees centigrade inside.

The stcked kiln before firing, Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 3

There's always some idiot who ruins a perfectly good shot!

The stcked kiln before firing, Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 4

Despite his years of experience not all of Trev's ideas come off. Here his attempt at creating an energy-saving candle powered kiln proved less than entirely successful ...

The stcked kiln before firing, Leach Pottery, St. Ives, Cornwall 5

... nor did his attempt to create a stegosaurus. Master potter he may be but Ray Harryhausen he ain't!

[Actually they are pyrometric cones that react at different temperatures and are, thus, used as a visual check on what the kiln is up to on the inside.]

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