Barkby and Beeby WI

At their February meeting, Barkby & Beeby WI were entertained by John and Annette Christophers ‘fun with clay’. They came equipped with some of their work to show us which we could purchase at the end of the evening, some clay and a sense of humour!
John started with a brief history of how people long ago first discovered that clay could be used to make cooking pots, from children playing on the river banks with the clay, moulding it into toys to play with and finding out, by accident, that putting it in the fire resulted in it going very hard. A woman then tried lining a basket with clay and leaving it in the fire overnight with the end result of a burnt basket but also a pot which was water proof that she could use for cooking.
We then all had a lump of clay with which to make a disc with our initial on and a symbol to show our hobby, which caused some hilarity, these were then collected in and made into a large bowl by Annette. This is to be fired and returned to the WI. John then told us about the bottle kilns, saggers, the sagger maker and the sagger maker’s bottom knocker, the mind boggles until all is explained.  The sagger was a large, oval container that the unfired pots were placed in and the sagger maker and the bottom knocker were responsible for making them. Once full they would be stacked in the bottle kiln for firing.  This was an entertaining evening as well as being very informative about the pottery industry.