It’s been a while.

It’s been a while since I last wrote about anything remotely worth writing about ,because not much as happened that is worth writing about really. Just the usual thank you.

We plod on through life doing all the boring everyday stuff that we have to do, work,washing up and on the odd occasion we do something that we consider worth while,fun and creative,this is one such occasion so I am writing about it.

All winter I had been making the usual earthenware things that I love, for the weald and downland museum and stuff to sell. In the hope that my mate Tina would invite me again to help her fire her woodfiring kiln, I was making in stoneware too. This actually came true and we were making a start on the 10th March a Wednesday to fire on that coming Saturday.

The weather in the winter has been very wet and Tina’s garden was looking like the Battle of Paschendale on a good day,the communication trenches were flooded and the saps were in disarray.



Tina had already packed half the kiln over the past weeks, I was given a whole stack to fill, which in a kiln this size was quite a lot of space to fill. A lot of my stuff was flat ware and I decided not to pack it,mainly to try it at a lower less likely to warp it temperature. My bigger stuff was packed into the dome of the kiln,( the joy of a big kiln).




We finally finished glazing and packing on Friday and were ready for a very early start the following morning at 4.30 ooer. We had the use of a magic gazebo this is what it looked like,a bit like a resident of Windscale glowing in the dark.


Long suffering hubby of Tina,Graham and I lit the kiln at 4.30, we had set an overnight fire which was glowing a little and had kept the heat at 150 c. Slowly the dawn came up and lo it was misty.IMG_0529








When the patrols came in back to the trenches they reported that all was quite in the Westphalian trenches they were probably asleep, the odd flare went up, generally quite. Slowly stoked, my worries about the damp firewood were unfounded at this early stage and probably did a good job holding back the rise.


P1050443The passive damper at the base of the chimney let colder air in almost stopping the flame from progressing up the chimney,causing the kiln to reduce.

Tina had been given large buckets of Linseed oil waste ,that was spooned into the fireboxes,it burnt really well and is 100 per cent vegetable, flax for linen seeds for allsorts of uses.
P1050444Eventually we reached temperature as usual the pyro was out but useful for showing the rise.IMG_0531It had only taken 14 hours to fire and we felt a little deflated, as we sat down to our take away curry,which soon inflated us again, powerful stuff.


We waited until the following Thursday,Tina had been sending me updates on the decreases and when we opened up it was 25 degrees a pleasant mid day temperature.

IMG_0532IMG_0533IMG_0534There were over 300 pots in the kiln apart from a few boring ones and a few glaze runs they were all really good. The hard bit is still to come, selling them,

A very good firing .


About timbartell

I was born in a flat in Lambeth the name of which was, Wedgewood house,China walk estate.I'd forgotten this until recently,it dawned on me the significance of the names after I had become interested in pottery/ceramics.I think of myself as a potter in the most practical sense,making pots for people to use.I have never had any formal training,I took it up when the table tennis class was full.My first flat was in the same road as a pottery centre, Elmwood pottery, the best in London, 18 sessions a week and a real community. I love my craft and bore everyone with it, so am grabbing this chance to bore more people via this blog.There may be the odd interesting item, here's hoping.
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