On the weekend of 17th and 18th July 2010, Barbel, her assistants, and some friends, built a test Chianti Bottle Kiln. A bottle kiln is traditionally built from fire brick in the shape of a giant bottle, with a fire box at the bottom fuelled with wood or coke.
A few years ago a potter in France experimented with building a bottle kiln using empty wine bottles as the main structure, with rings of bottles on top of one another cemented using a mixture of clay and sand. Barbel's been dying to try this out after reading an article about it in the Ceramic Review, and despite the inclement weather which threatened to kybosh the event, successfully fired her first chianti bottle kiln at Cromarty Stables.
Here are some pictures of the event as well. Click on images to view larger ones in a lightbox.
Chianti Bottle Kiln - construction Several rows of bottles have been built up in rings, help together with a mixture of clay and sand.
Ring structure of bottles View from above the chianti bottle kiln showing the necks of the bottle pointing inwards, and the beginnings of a kiln bat platform to support the metal chimney flue.
Chianti Bottle Kiln - final construction touches Nearly finished. Just the last circle of bottle and the flue itself needed.
Fite lit and drying begins The fire lit gently to dry out the clay and sand of the bottle kiln.
Barbel inspects glass and fire Fire going well and the draught of the flue working well. The bottles are beginning to get hot to the touch.
The fire at its peak The Chianti Bottle Kiln now going full blast, with the internal temperature rising quickly and the flames now rising out of the flue.
Bottle Kiln fire being stoked Kiln dying down a little, so Barbel stokes it by adding more pine waste wood to the firebox
Bottle Kiln at full temperature Kiln now burning very well as the day darkens a little. Temperature now high and the necks of the bottles dripping molten glass into the main chamber of the bottle kiln. Spectators gather to admire, and enjoy a celebratory glass of the grape or grain.