large kiln of the pottery is 100 m3 !
kiln has been built in the XIXth (probably around 1850) and
rebuilt at some point. We can see inside that there is a different
construction "style" between the firebox and the
main vault. Between 1850 and 1870 these kilns were periodically
rebuilt to increase the volume, because of the increasing
market in France for the big preservation jars. This kiln
is one of the biggest of the area, and definitely the biggest
to have been fired (October 2003
after 2 years of restoration)
! It is a shame that many of the local kilns have been destroyed
after they stopped firing in the 1950s...
one-chamber kiln is typical of Saint-Amand area and similar
to the kilns of La Borne (Cher). However in Saint-Amand they
were bigger because of different market specialization, they
had to fire a lot of bigger pots. The general shape is like
half a shell, lying down with the point on the left by the
firebox. You could also say it looks like an "anagama"
kiln with the narrow end is in the opposite direction !
the back (the base of the shell) the wall has a number of
holes for evacuating the exhaust gases, and the door through
which the kiln is loaded (on the right on the drawing). Sometimes
a chimney was built behind the evacuation wall to improve
the thermal efficiency, which was done for the 2003 firing.
maximum heighth inside is about 3 meters, so the men on the
picture are quite to the scale. Big pots are loaded one on
top of the other, in piles of up to four pots (75kg each !)
Small pitchers or planters can pile up by 20 or more... Very
good loading experience is required !
firing lasted 15 days and used 120 m3 of wood !
course, we have a plan to fire it again... sometime... So
if you are excited to fire a huge beast like that, you can
contact us, we will keep you informed
of the project !