We had a wonderful day pit firing the clay work made by fifth class. We began at 9.15am and during the day every class visited the pit fire and found out about fire, and the Neolithic people who first made pottery in Ireland.
We dug a trench and lined it with our collected materials – saw dusts, seaweed, drift wood and salt.
Then we put the clay pieces in and surrounded them with more of our materials and lots of firewood.We tried to make our pit fire in a similar way to Neolithic Man but we did cheat a little bit. We didn’t rub two sticks together or use flint, we used matches and firelighters.But we did use a bellows very like the kind of bellows that was used by these early potters.The children learnt a lot about fire. Here they are using a modern bellows on each others hands and Fiona shows them how a bag bellow works.
Then the fire got very hot we left and the wood turned to red hot embers. It was probably 800 degrees in the middle where the clay work was. During break some children found sticks to add to the fire.
By two o’clock we began to take out the clay pieces and see what happened.
They had changed colour. Some pieces had a variety of colours and some were lovely dark grey.
We had very interesting discussions about fire and how early man used it with the classes. The children came up with loads of uses – light, heat, warming water to wash in,to protect themselves from wild animals, to cook food, to harden clay and to melt copper and tin.
How lovely to have made these beautiful arts works with natural materials found near the school – clay, seaweed, drift wood and wood.
We left examples in the Traces cabinet in the front foyer for all to see.