Big Firing (1st-7th October 2003)
: "You are all invited! Firing open to the public.
Free entry. Bring your sun-glasses! The firing can be viewed
day and night, 24 hours a day. Sale of food and drinks on
site. Free camping available. Pottery sale. Events every evening
(music, slide-shows, videos...) from 10 p.m.."
All that was true, but few believed
it a few weeks before (and some still didn't believe it during
re-fire one of the last very big kilns still standing
in France, sleeping for the last 50 years, while nearly
all its cousins have disappeared, demolished, razed
to the ground, wasn't for a bet, but a real dream. But
the kiln was waiting patiently to be fired-up another
get to that point, to achieve this "première",
it needed someone who could dream and who also had his
feet well anchored to the ground, to lead a team on site
for three years' work. To restore the kiln, the undergrowth
and trees which had invaded the kiln had to be removed,
the insulation of the kiln, the roof of the 'lodge', its
shelter, and the kiln floor had to be re-done and a chimney
had to be built so that the firing would be more efficient.
15 tonnes of bricks to be laid, just for the chimney !
A herculanean task, accomplished by a handful of volunteers
and a few potters from the ends of the earth.
100m3 kiln is really something. It means about 800 tonnes
de bricks, 25 tonnes of clay ( and quite a few months
) to make the pots, 120 m2 of wood burned during the firing,
which lasted more than 10 days. And also more m3 of faggots
to finish the firing as old guys used to do, which we
had to collect and prepare ourselves, since you can't
get them now from the local wood merchant.
superb nave of the kiln, which stayed cool throughout
the heatwave of 2003, has at last re-made contact with
hell-fire... 1300 degrees C in front ! The kiln radiated
heat for 100 metres all around and bewitched the stokers
and the spectators... Until the moment when all the entries
and exits had to be sealed up to keep the heat in the
monster, and the stokers could have a litte sleep after
all this powerful emotion.
month later, once the kiln had cooled down, we opened
it ... slowly, with all possible precautions...
...a real Ali Baba's cave. It took your breath away, it
was so beautiful !
In the press
about the firing
/ Coll Minogue, Robert Sanderson editors.
by Coll Minogue
Well researched, it presents the ASPPP's project in the
historical context of the Poyaudine pottery and the big
firing event in October 2003.
The Film !
|| A film
produced by Jacques Tréfouël
during the firing. Must be seen