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It’s been a few weeks since I was last at the Brickworks. On my last visit, I left the largest completed vessel unwrapped to allow the bricks to dry and shrink.
Quite a dramatic effect I think you’ll agree?
I love the tones and colour displayed by the uneven drying – the darker bricks at the bottom are still quite damp whilst the ‘white’ ones at the top are nearly dry enough for firing.

Introducing Sally, who has joined us this week on a work experience placement. Sally is a second year Ceramics student from Cardiff School of Art and Design. We are really grateful for the extra pair of hands, especially a degree student with knowledge and understanding of materials and process.

Sally’s been working with me at Coleford Brick and Tile Company, in the Forest of Dene, helping with the work for my show at the Bilston Museum and Art Gallery.

I spent the majority of last week working at the Coleford Brick and Tile Company in the Forest of Dean.
The directors have been very generous, (once again) in allowing me to work on the factory floor and ‘play’ with their wonderful materials and products.
I’m making some large vessels – some one metre in diameter, out of carved ‘green’ bricks. The process involves piling the bricks into a rough shape before carving the surfaces to achieve a smooth effect. Once it’s all dried, it will be disassembled, carefully labelled and then fired in the giant gas kilns at the works.
The piece will then be re-assembled in time for my exhibition in July at Bilston. For other blog entries relating to this project please take a look at: Coleford Residency 5 and 6, Brick Factory Visit 3, Coleford Residency, Bilston Show a Go-Go!,
Jon
On Friday I headed back down to the Forest of Dean to spend my second day at the brickworks – the chaps had very efficiently and kindly fired three of the seven pots made on my first visit, (the rest were in the dryer or kiln). Inspired by the results, I threw three more large ‘discovery pots’ each weighing in at a whopping 35kg! 

 

Check out the sculptural qualities of these hand carved brick finials. I had the privilege of watching the men craft the clay block in a matter of minutes – nice work Porky!

On Friday, I started a residency at Coleford Tile & Brick Company in the Forest of Dean. The company have been extremely generous in allowing me, one day a week to experiment with their clay & materials. My intention is to make a series of large, thrown ‘discovery pots’ for my exhibition at the Courtyard Theatre in Jan 2010. I got off to a cracking start, forcing 49kg of soft brick clay into a single piece! My largest pot ever!  

 

I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing clay being processed and formed on such a huge industrial scale. The roar of the giant cavernous kilns, reaching temperature, the spectacle of flames sprouting from spy holes and cracks in the door – fantastic. I feel totally inspired and am looking forward to every minute spent at the site.