Sunday, September 9, 2012

A tribute to my home town,_Longton,_Stoke-on-Trent.jpg

My home town is Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, England. The city is known as "The Potteries" for its industry of pot making, the manufacture of fine china. In the past, this chinaware was fired in kilns, using coal as the fuel. The kilns were traditionally bottle shaped, hence the name, "Bottle Kilns."

The basket above is in the shape of a bottle kiln. In their day, there were hundreds of these kilns belching out smoke into the air, giving the city another name, "Smoky Stoke." Their day has passed with the advent of firing using gas as well as with the chinaware industry migrating off shore. The very few remaining bottle kilns are now kept as museums. If you click on the jpg reference above you will come to a google site to see past examples of these kilns.

My basket features the past and the present in the bottle kiln. The spirals represent the smoke ascending into the air. The beads represent the unfired clay before it is fired. The green represents the greening of the city with the decline of the industry as well as the decline of the coal mining. The waste tips of the past, such as those of the Hanley Deep Pit's coal mine have become landscaped green hills and recreation areas. Similarly the "marl holes" (open sites from which clay was extracted) and the waste tips from the pottery factories have become green sites.

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