Land Mark 2021 heat work done

Land Mark Residency 2021

A residency as part of Art Walk Porty

During my residency at Land Marks I have focused my research and artworks on the working conditions in the local industries around the Portobello bottle kilns including the manufacture of prussian blue and the processing of white lead, as well as the clay workers experience themselves.
This year I am looking at the interior working space of the kiln and the skills and experience required by staff to produce consistent, high quality, saleable ceramic wares.
I am responding to the hot smoky atmosphere that the coal fired kiln created and the skills needed in packing and stacking the kiln with heavy saggars and the ultimate experience of the ‘fireman’ who watched over it for the 3 day firing, gauging by eye the correct firing cycle and temperature changes.
I am fascinated by the process of turning wet clay into a permanent useable object and have studied both physics and ceramics that have added to my curiosity and admiration for the workers who were able to judge by eye the temperature before contemporary heat measuring devices were used.
For my installation, I am creating 2 interventions inside the kiln. The first is a ‘Heat-o-meter’ a large constructed devise to reference measuring the changing colours of the internal space of the kiln and temperatures associated with the different stages of the firing cycle. I am also making thermal insulated heat gloves as a gesture to the hundreds of workers who had to improvise with makeshift wet rags wrapped around their arms and faces to protect themselves whilst unpacking the hot kiln.
I am ultimately trying to bring to life a sense of the hot busy environment within the kiln, as we stand there today in a beautifully constructed empty brick chamber and wonder what has gone on in this space before.

(The title ‘‘ refers to the 1st Law of Thermodynamics as a way of understanding the energy transferred in a given system, in this case the relationship between the temperature reached and the amount of time in the kiln and the effect on the ceramic ware).

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