Khmer Artisan Project

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August 31, 2009

Last weekend we fired the kiln twice. It fired great until about 1400 degrees then it stalled. Next Thursday we will do some modifications to the kiln and hopefully it will get up to 2000. The day always starts at pre dawn. This was a thunderhead that had just passed very early in the morning. The mud pit is full of clay and sand for sealing up the kiln. I did an experiment combining rice hulls, sawdust, and used motor oil to use as an alternative fuel. It worked extremely well and was almost free. It is very hot work stoking the kiln in this climate.

Wood delivery Thunderhead Mud Pit
Sealing up the kiln Sealing up the kiln Rice hulls, sawdust and used motor oil are combined to use as an alternative fuel source


The firing was started in the afternoon and left to burn all night for the pre heat. In the morning stoking once again. It was very hot business. After lunch the ice cream guy came by. A very nice cold treat. Later in the day there was an afternoon thunderstorm which was very welcomed. Cool air and cool rain. The next day I decided to fire the kiln again because it would not get hot enough. One possible reason was we could not remove the ashes and embers and they built up inside. I had a two and a half meter shovel made for me to solve this problem. Morning wood delivery. It was super hot next to the kiln aside from it being about 90 degrees and 100% humidity. Dupow is cooling off as best she can before going back to stoking the kiln. Removing the ashes and embers is also extremely hot business. In the end it did not help and the kiln stalled again. In two days we will give it another try.

Stoking the kiln The kiln was left to burn all night for the preheat.
Afternoon thunderstorm. Bruce using the 2.5 meter shovel


August 24, 2009

In three days everything gets fired. It will be nice to finally fire the kiln. The ox cart is a wood delivery for firing the kiln. The bamboo pictures are two different kinds of bamboo that was given to me. Should have some good pictures next week



August 16, 2009

Production has begun!! The large vases are coil pots with thrown necks. This was a technique that was very foreign to everyone but the results are great. The smaller vases are first pinch pots then paddled into the proper form. In one picture you can see the pots in the backround before they are paddled. In two weeks the kiln will get it's first firing. The large vases have been lots of fun making because three people, Ming Keean, Sok Nep and I, are making them all at different stages. Many of the old hands of Kampong Chhnang have been coming out of the woodwork to see what we are doing. Unanamously they say we are making the best pottery they have seen. The pictures of the little girls is them playing market. They set up an impromptu market in the shop selling rocks, leaves, and pottery shards. It was a good week.

August 9, 2009

Last week was unbelievably hot and humid. The roof needed some repair and replace some of the palm frawn shingles. I got the wedging board made and we have actually started producing some pottery. Everyone gets a turn at making something. Hopefully by next week we will have a kiln load done. The moto with the trailer is the first official vehicle for Khmer Artisan Project. sort of a Cambodian version of a small PU truck. Then we can fire the new kiln. The rice field just outside the shop is full of frogs. There are thousands of frogs everywhere. At night it is almost deafening all of the croaking.



August 2, 2009

I have decided to stay at the shop so new sleeping arraignments mosquito nets and all. The girls fishing are actually catching frogs. The rest of the pictures are grinding the clay and sifting it getting it ready to be made into usable clay



June 28, 2009

The clay grinder is finished. It is sort pf like a cross between a teeter totter and mortal and pestle. The other pictures are people from the local temple fundraising. Gives church frudraising a whole new meaning.




June 24, 2009

House for the kiln is done andnow we are building a clay grinder. One pic is an afternoon shower



June 7, 2009







May 15, 2009

The kiln is almost done. We took out the support structure for the roof and we are in the home stretch. The mortar for the bricks is what that mud pit is.


May 4, 2009




April 7, 2009