Thursday, June 21, 2007

June Firing

I'm posting some pics of a few of the pots from the most recent firing in June. The glazes turned out really nice! Very typical Old Edgefield or oriental-type glazes with lots of drips and runs from ash. The color of the glaze is a little darker than in the past. This is because I added a few cups of red, red earthenware from Martintown Rd. in North Augusta to my glaze batch. I wanted more runs and I got them! These are just a sample but typical of what we unloaded.

The kiln was fired on June 16-17. Though there was no rain forecast, it rained on and off throughout one night. We managed to stall the kiln at 15 hours, but eventually recovered and continued our climb up in temp. New apprentice Brian received his baptism by fire and sweat! I owe you! Sarah helped finish the firing when my legs and back started spasms at around 34 hours. She took the 9,10,11 cones down. Thanks, Sarah! Total firing time was 36 hours. Whew! I should say 36 HOT, HUMID hours. I'll post pics in a few days after the kiln cools and is unloaded.

Brian stands back while flames start burning out top of chimney.

Brian's legs are just visible in the firebox as he starts to unload a real hot kiln several days later.

This pot says " A good pot for stew-beef, chicken and rabbit, too

A nice jar 2 gallon jar

I'll post more photos later. All of the pieces are not yet out of the kiln.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Clay Prospecting

Recently, one of the last potteries from the Old Edgefield District has found itself in the way of progress. Baynham's pottery was relocated in the late 1800's to this location from Trenton, SC. They managed to keep production of utilitarian pottery into the 1930's. This site was the location for brickmaking, as well as garden-type earthenware production. The site is presently being cleared for a storm water retention pond.

The many sherds left scattered about the site show that Albany slip was the preferred glaze treatment. Jug handles were joined at and onto the necks. There was a small number of sherds that appeared to have a Bristol or whitish-gray glaze. The pottery site has the remains of at least 2 groundhog kilns visible and several waster piles.

Many of the remaining foundations of structures on the site were made from brick with the markings "PEERLESS/AUGUSTA. The large number of unmortared single bricks scattered about the site may indicate these were made here.

The pottery sat on top of a vein of blue-colored clay. This clay was layed down when an ancient sea covered this area and is a kaolinite high in alumina, which is great for stoneware pottery. While this clay by itself is somewhat short or non-plastic, it performs beautifully when blended with the buff stoneware clay veins that alternate with the blue clay at the site.

We have managed to procure a sizeable quantity of the clays from the site. Though Baynham's pottery site will cease to be, collectors of their pottery can take heart as Old Canal Pottery continues the tradition of southern alkaline-glazed, wood-fired stoneware pottery using clays from the old site. The clays fire to a light gray color.
Blue clay contrasted with red earthenware clay

A sample of the blue clay

Our kiln is filled and the wood is cut and stacked. We will be firing our latest work soon!