I've been blending up another batch of clay for making ancient pottery replicas, this one is a mixture of some old recycled clay, some found locally in Upwey and a bit of new commercial earthenware clay - with added special ingredients of some sand from Hengistbury Head, some fairly coarse hand crushed fired clay (grog), some crushed flint and a pinch or two of iron oxide. I have used it to construct by hand some replica Glastonbury Ware bowls, which I hope will come out looking OK.
I had a shock to find that the test pot that I made using the clay dug in Coombe Valley Road - which I'd fired in my electric kiln - had started to disintegrate because I had not removed all the small chunks of flint and they had taken a few days to take in some water from the air resulting in an expansion and conversion to a powdery nodule. I just hope that the seiving I did with the next batch of clay removed all of that troublesome stuff, otherwise I have waste a good few hours recently! The next batch is currently swinging in a farmers shop bag drying out in the breeze.
I am getting ready for next weekend - I am making pots as part of the Ancient Wessex Network team at "Spring Tide", run by the National Trust at Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock. It looks like the weather may be better than forecast a few days ago. www.spring-tide.org.uk
Last Saturday I went to a meeting of the Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group, hosted by Wessex Archaeology at Salisbury - it was a fantastic opportuinity to handle some real pieces of ancient pottery and talk to the archaeologists about it. They were also very kind about the pots of mine I took along - although, as expected, they prefered the slight seconds and firing rejects to the glazed pots I shown them.