Sunday, July 10, 2011

Smok'in Pots in Bragg Creek

I was up and out early this morning. I went out to Bragg Creek (about a 45 minute drive west of Calgary) to build a paper kiln at my friend Loretta's place.
It is dirty, and tiring, but what part of making pottery isn't? Anyway, we started with a bed of cumpled up news paper, then small wood pieces, covered that with a layer of wood chips, and a layer of sawdust. Straw was used to pack in around the edge to keep the sawdust from leaking out and was used in this manner after each layer of pots. On top of the sawdust we sprinkled a special mixture of copper carb. mixed with other things like "Italian Seasoning". It contains a lot of salt, and was not so good for cooking, but it is good for low fire methods like this. On top of this bed of sawdust, we began layering on the pots. Then another layer of sawdust, another sprinkle of the copper carb mixture, and then a generous helping of moose poop, and then more pots. After a few layers of pots, we wrapped a heavy duty wire mesh around the the whole structure, and continued adding more pots, sawdust, straw, copper carb, moose pellets etc. Once all the layers were in place and a final layer of sawdust was added, we began the plastering process. A wheel barrow was filled with thick slip and heavy duty glossy magazine paper was dipped in and then laid out on the wire mesh. We covered the entire structure with one coat, making sure to leave two corners free for the smoke stacks. We wired 2 coffee cans to the 2 corners that did not have a burner port. The coffee cans were then plastered into place. After we had approximately 7 or 8 layers of clay and papers, we lit it on fire with a tiger torch. This kiln will slowly smolder for about 24 hours (maybe more, maybe less). Here are some pictures to document the process.

Now we wait, hope it doesn't rain and go back when it cools down to dig out the pots. Then we clean them up and apply a layer of paste wax to give them a little protection and shine.

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