[Clayart] Cow paddys

vpitelka at dtccom.net vpitelka at dtccom.net
Thu Apr 7 22:41:22 UTC 2022

Hi Terry - 
You mention "The Last Brickmaker."  Normally I avoid Hallmark movies like the plague, but my wife and I watched this one because it was one of Sidney Poitier's last films - the character he played was supposedly the last brickmaker doing it in a traditional way.  I do not remember the details, but I think the coal dust was added to provide a little porosity so that the bricks would fire more evenly and would have greater insulating value.  The movie is really worth seeing, because it shows the whole process from molding the bricks from clay.  He fires the bricks in a traditional "clamp," which is just a huge rectangular pile of bricks with fireboxes around the base and flue channels passing through the pile.  There's no conventional kiln.  They build fires in the fireboxes and the heat circulates through the flues, heating the bricks.  The flues exit in the top of the pile, and the movie shows them regulating the heat by partially covering the flue exits.  When the firing is done, the bricks along the fireboxes and flue channels would be melted, and the bricks along the outside of the kiln would be unfired.  Between those extremes there would be bricks ranging from pinkish soft-fired, classic brick-red, to fairly dark red-brown, depending on how hot they got.  It's a fascinating process.  
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Potter, Writer, Teacher
Chapel Hill, NC
vpitelka at dtccom.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart <clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com> On Behalf Of Terry Lazaroff
Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2022 3:52 PM
To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
Subject: Re: [Clayart] Cow paddys

Hi all

I remember watching the Last Brick Maker and he used coal mixed into his bricks so the would fire themselves in similar fashion.  

Terry getting ready for the 2022 1001Pots summer sale in Val David, Quebec.  8 July to 21 August.  

Sent from my iPad

> On Apr 7, 2022, at 3:03 PM, Tig Dupré <tigdupre at msn.com> wrote:
> When I was in college at the University of Florida, Clayton Bailey came for a workshop.  He made "nose cups" and "blooper heads."  He cracked jokes and made wonderful pots.
> One of the things he told us was his use of "horse clay," the mixing of dried horse dung in his clay body.  Clayton claimed that this allowed him to use less fuel in firing, because once the firing got up to the ignition point of the horse dung, the pot would fire itself.  I never tested this theory, not having access to a lot of horse dung, but it did sound somewhat on the fantasy side of clay production.
> I greatly enjoyed his workshop!
> Tig Dupre
> in Port Orchard, WA
> ________________________________
> Kurt Wild got very excited to use dung as a heat source for low temp 
> pottery.  Black ware and such was fired for years using dung...but, 
> "DRY DUNG"  ....
> People have the perception that cow dung is wet, sloppy, icky stuff. 
> And, it is.  But dung found in dry climates, esp cattle and goat sheep 
> dung is like a grass paddy.
> Most of what goes in a cow is grasses.  What comes out is used up grass.
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