A friend and colleague recently told me about the clay in her parents garden up on Clee Hill that she used to make stuff out of when she was a child. This morning I went up there and met the wonderful Howard and Pat (her parents), who let me dig some of their clay. I only had a little time, so the clay I dug was near the surface, very pale grey – with quite a bit of charcoal and organic material (roots etc.) and with ochres and small lumps of iron oxide running through it. I’m going to prepare it properly this time, (drying it, breaking it up, slaking it, sieving it etc. before re-drying as a biscuit for future use). I also spied the quarry workings – the hill has been worked for basalt, fireclay, coal and limestone over the centuries… and I’m wondering whether I should go back there to see if I can collect some quarry dust for future glaze experimentation too….
Temperature inversion – looking down over the quarry towards Tenbury Wells
The quarry North West of Clee Hill village
Quarry lake and cliffs
Starting to dig…..
Crumbled Clee Hill clay….
After the last reduction firing, and with lessons learned, I prepared a little more thoroughly and carried out a second reduction firing at Bath-Spa Sion Hill Campus last Tuesday. The results were far more successful and extremely interesting. Tutorial input at the college from Luke Haslam-Jones with expert glaze advise and a really inspiring tutorial with Tana West
Beach clay tenmoku (cone 9-10 reduction)
Attempts towards Chun glaze – using David Fry recipes
Creating beach clay slips…. Should have dried the clay and slaked it!
Loaded gas kiln
(a third year student from the Royal College) are helping me move forward with plans for projects that I need to complete in June; specifically the Creative Sparks internal Bath-Spa project and presentation of our final idea and work so far towards the Holburne Project exhibition (likely to be for October).