Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fredericksburg Kiln Site

Sherds from the Fredericksburg site. From article: http://blogs.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2012/10/08/19th-century-pottery-site-is-major-find/
Some very exciting news from the Fredericksburg, Virginia area! A recently discovered kiln site in Fredericksburg will have the chance to be salvaged before the site is developed. This is an important aspect, because for the kiln project I have been working on there have been too many salvaged collections where the kiln wasn't found, or part of the collection was discarded, or only half of the site was able to excavated. As I tell people, for the thousands of potters we know were operating in America's history, the likely less than 200 kiln sites that have been saved/salvaged in earthenware and stoneware should be a sign of how important these sites and collections are.(Note: there has not been a comprehensive list of all of the excavated/salvaged/explored sites in America made. It would be really fun to compile, but probably a nightmare to try and locate where they are housed! Or depressing to know that they were thrown out -trust me on that one. I have seen over 30 stoneware sites in my project and a lot of other earthenware and mixed sites along the way). You can read more about the Fredericksburg site on the Fredericksburg News Desk link. The above smattering of fragments tells me so much exciting information that I cannot wait to see what else surfaces.
Francis Bell advertisement for opening a stoneware manufactory. From article: http://blogs.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2012/10/08/19th-century-pottery-site-is-major-find/

One of the most interesting aspects of this small collection from the site is the bisqued handle in the lower center section of the photo.The kiln sites I have seen in Virginia have had more bisque stoneware than the other sites I have seen elsewhere. I hope to explore this more someday, but I think it comes from the fact that several of those sites were making both earthenware and stoneware, and they created a great balance of their one kiln with the production of both materials. In the spring I am thinking to fire a load of earthenware in my salt kiln just to see what happens with the salt vapors and if the temperature will stay low enough so as not to create as much off-gassing. It could have also been from a very cool spot in the kiln, but if there is a lot of bisque ware coming out of the site, I think that will be a different story.
 Let's be hopeful that those salvaging the site are given ample time to perhaps find the kiln and collect as much material as they can! And that they save EVERYTHING because the importance of the object may not be noticeable until it is being cleaned and processed.

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