Sunday, 5 October 2014

Pit firing weekend in Norfolk

Invited on a pottery jolly, back in August, to visit Fran and Georg's new straw build house in Norfolk to camp, and do a pit firing in their garden. Unlike our previous jolly we didn't make anything in advance, so it was also green firing of pots that we made and dried on the day we got there. There was a high likelihood that nothing would survive the firing.

We made pinch pots out of grogged stoneware clay. Ate lunch and homemade bread. Went for a walk while everything dried. Tents were pitched. A pit was dug and filled with sawdust. The dry green pots were placed carefully (being extremely fragile at this point) and covered with more sawdust. Rolls of paper and kindling wood were placed over the top and then it was lit. Love a big fire.  We sat round. Until we were tired and retired to a variety of beds in tents or in the house. A gale started - blowing in from a tail end of hurricane across the atlantic, and it rained. Never that keen on tent sleeping at the best of times but with howling wind and pumelling rain it was both cold and difficult to sleep.

The following day we extracted the pots, its a bit like an archeological dig. Most had survived. They were fired but not to anywhere near the temperature that they would be properly cured at. But - its the process that is exciting and the company that makes it always worth the trip, even when the pots are nothing to write  home about in the long run.

And the scenery was beautiful and I swam in the sea with grey seals.

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