Experimental Kiln Project 2014 to 2017

Introduction.

One of the few medieval finds from the excavation within Ty Mawr hall was sherds of Cistercian ware, dated to the 15th or 16th century. The vessel was similar to the 2 handled cup in the centre of the collection illustrated below.

Examples of Cistercian ware

reproduction by Jim Newboult of Trinity Court Potteries (http://www.trinitycourtpotteries.co.uk/)

Aim

To reproduce this ceramic form in an experimental kiln on site. It is based on and continues the experiments from:

Experimental Kiln Firings at Barton-an-Humber, S. Humberside 1971

By GEOFFREY F. BRYANT

Workers' Educational Association

TECHNIQUES ASSOCIATED with the firing of replica medieval open-topped, double flued,and multiflued updraught kilns have been investigated and are reported here.

Particular interest has been taken in the method of forming a cover for the loaded kiln oven,and various solutions are discussed. The experimental open-topped kilns were capped rather than built with a permanent dome.

The paper is available from the Notes at the bottom of this page. 21_106_123.pdf

The Kiln

As this ceramic type is glazed (which gives it its distinct black/brown shiny outer surface) high temperatures are required. Replicating a twin flue updraught kiln allows the project to explore the production process from sourcing the clay and materials to throwing and firing the pots in a method that our 15thC ancestors may have recognised.

Sketch of the planned kiln at Ty Mawr-based on drawing by David Morris

DAY ONE

The kiln build site at Ty Mawr May 2014

building stones sourced locally

clay being puddled by foot

water and straw added to make a mortar like mixture

DAY TWO

central slab laid to make the base of the 'firebox' and a willow hoop added

as a guide to the internal size of the structure

floor added to stoke holes/flues, the bottom (west) flue is to be vaulted in clay, the top eastern flue will be square topped/slabbed but also has a tapering stoke hole

DAY THREE

wattled flue top in the western end of the kiln

DAY FOUR

flue walls built to height and the firing floor has been inserted , held up by a central ceramic column.

Good progress made even with the continual stops to talk to visitors during the Living History open days on day 3/4

DAY FIVE

5 more buckets of clay have been taken to the kiln build ssite,but again visitor numbers slowed the build and the lack of suitable stone.

the eastern flue has had a layer of slabs added and the wattled western flue has been daubed.

DAY SIX

the chamber is now being raised and will taper slightly to the top. It is left open for loading and unloading of the pottery.

DAY SEVERN and EIGHT

more stonework added to the chamber

DAY NINE

DAY TEN

Part One of building the kiln 2014-2016

Part two - the first test firing

Education and workshops - help us fill the kiln!

Schools and youth groups are now being sort to help craft the replica medieval pots to fill the kiln if you would like to be involved please contact us, tuition, equipment, literature, and materials all provided due to the recent grant from the MDTF whose help has enabled us to extend this projects and its educational aims.

This project has been funded by the Montgomery District Trust Fund 2016-2017 with the Community Foundation in Wales