East Timor Project
Sandra Lockwood and US potter Simon Levin (external link) have supervised the construction of a woodfired kiln at the Bili Bala pottery, located at Manatuto in East Timor. The pots will be earthenware and initially will be handbuilt by the East Timorese participants in the project. It is hoped that funding for wheels will be available at a later stage. The kiln was designed by Simon Levin and the project is funded by US Aid and World Vision. One aim of the project is to produce ceramic water filters with porosity qualities which will allow passage of water at a practical rate while preventing the passage of bacteria. The pores in the fired clay body must have diameters smaller than the bacteria, and the size of the pores is dependent on the firing temperature and the particle sizes in the clay from which the clay body is developed. For the main clay used there is relatively narrow range of particle sizes, and the particles are small. Tony Flynn, from the Centre for Science and Engineering of Materials at the Australian National University, is an expert on the porosity of ceramic materials and has been involved in testing the clay samples Sandy has sent from East Timor. The hope is that by the addition of a proportion of another clay with appropriate particle size distribution a clay body can be developed which will have the right properties over the range of temperatures provided by the kiln in a typical firing. The rewards for success are high in that not only will the people of East Timor be less affected by water bourne diseases but also the technique for developing a suitable clay body will be applicable in other parts of the world, using adaptations of local ceramic techniques.
Photos by Sandra Lockwood
Click on any of the images below to see a larger image