Chimney and pots.

I built a fireplace and chimney onto the tiled roof hut for light and cooking purposes. An external fireplace was built in the back wall of the hut. This fireplace was not for heating. That was taken care of by the pre-existing underfloor heating system. I camped in the hut one night and the fireplace gave good light to see by while the underfloor heating made it comfortably warm to sleep in.

I also needed more and larger pots for carrying water and boiling it. Clay from the creek bank was dug and used to make the pots. Stones were removed from the clay and broken tiles left over from the construction of the hut were crushed and added as grog. This prevents pots from cracking during drying and firing. The clay was then mixed by hand to form a homogenous mixture.

A cooking pot and 4 large pots (just under 25cm tall and 25cm wide) were made using the coiling method. Some layers of the pot had lines scraped on top of them to help the next layers stick to them better, but this was probably unnecessary. The pots were rubbed with a snail shell and a smooth seed pod in a process called burnishing. This adds strength to the pots and makes them more waterproof. I only burnished them lightly. If done well they can get a very shiny finish.

The kiln, originally used for firing roof tiles for the hut, was used to fire the larger pottery. Originally I fired previous pots in small pit fires. But the kiln allowed me to fire larger pots with a lower breakage rate than pit fire. The quality of kiln fired pots is also higher than pit fired pots as the kiln reaches a higher and less variable temperature. One of the four large pots cracked during firing. In total the project yielded 3 large water pots and one small cooking pot.

I used the large pots to carry water from the creek to irrigate a sweet potato patch behind the wattle and daub hut (across the creek from the tile hut).  The smaller pot was used to boil the creek water. First I put the pot full of water back in the kiln and fired it which brought the water to a simmering boil. Another day I decided to try boiling the water with rocks. Wooden tongs were made using a split sapling and the fireplace was lit. Quartz stones were placed in the fireplace and more wood piled on top. The stones took about 15 or 20 minutes till they glowed red hot. They were then taken from the fire using the tongs and placed in the pot of water. The small pot only took about 4 rocks to boil violently. Any pathogens that were in the water would have surely died from the 20 minutes or so of rolling boil (although I’ve never become sick drinking this water straight anyway). I drank the water and it was like warm tea.