Pot Design: We’ve come up with a new design which is much wider and shallower than our previous one. The old design had a large thin rim which was a major source of cracking. We’re now trying a smaller rim with a more uniform thickness. Now only about 10% rather than 50% seem to be cracking. We’re still using local materials to shape the pots – the old design was molded around plastic buckets while this one is molded around metal pots!
Firing the Kiln: We have completed two burnings recently. The first time the temperature was perfect, but there was not enough space between the pots. Without air between the pots, the insides all turned black and soft. The second time, we separated the pots much more successfully, but the temperature went too high, causing many of the pots to crack. It is very difficult to monitor the temperature by the color of the glowing pots. We are still waiting for a pyrometer to come from Switzerland to help us out with this. So in the meantime we are experimenting.
Lab Testing: We are currently testing the pots for bacteria removal. We have been trying to test for faecal coliform every day for the past few weeks, but have had many difficulties with the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) lab equipment. The staff have been amazing and we are getting new kinks worked out each day.
Nik, Pelegia and George with new pots fresh from the kiln.
This pot was burned too hot. Oops!