The peat slices I made by taking clay on to the Moss (I’ll refer to the site and the peat bog by it’s local name from now on) and slicing it and leaving on a heather bank to dry. It picked up lots of dead bits of heather, moss and leaves.

I sliced a couple of blocks of crank in the studio and played with stacking the modules according to how peat is stacked on site to dry

I felt the proportion of the slices were important to examine more closely and the tool with which peat was dug out with, the tairsgeir. The peat is dug out in slices around 50cm deep, weighing 6kg. The slices I started working with were too small and thin.

I made two plaster models of peat slices, which were nearer the proportion of a peat slice, 50cm tall and 15cm or so deep. I cut into the plaster using a metal tool, similar to the tairsgeir to get the tool marks and the feel of the cutting into the peat. Once the clay is slipcast /or press moulded I may use the tairsgeir to mark the individual clay peat slices.

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On model no 1 I made a 5 part slip cast mould (detailed in https://janiceaffleckceramicsblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/a-week-of-plaster/). I will use stoneware slip, which I will bisque fire then glaze with a glaze I’m in the middle of making using peat ash and fire in a reduction firing.

Photograph Affleck, 27/10/18 Lenzie, Peat fire to collect the ashes

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Natural Glazes book, page 59 gives advise on mixing peat ash. I’ll email Richard to double check my plans, I’ve read a few more sources. I think I’ve to rinse it a few times, and apparently I can just sprinkle over a clear glaze. I’m glaze testing this week onto bisqued slices.

Plaster model no 2, I made 10% smaller incase I wanted to stack all the slices together, is for raw clay press moulds, (detailed in https://janiceaffleckceramicsblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/press-mould/).  I will press crank slabs into the mould, with site inclusions to make raw clay blocks.

If I like the form of raw clay blocks I may mould the larger block no 1 into a 2 part press mould for crank peat slices to raku or smoke fire using peat as the smoke making agent. I had planned for the slip cast blocks to be peat fired, but I’m now wondering if the press moulded slices may stack with the raw clay slices as the slip cast blocks will be open at the top edge and not enclosed like the press moulded slices. Crank press moulded blocks would seem to be more robust if I’m planning to smoke or raku fire them.

I’ve been taking more photographs and will work on a book this week while the moulds are drying. I feel I am too concentrated on the peat slices and need to get back to the Moss.

I’m still speaking to the Ironmonger about him making a Tairsgeir, which seems not to be a problem as long as it’s not expensive. I need to send him drawings. He is pricing the handle for me.

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