BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Upesi liners can be made by potters using a mould to shape clay into the form of stove liners. These are
then dried, fired and built into the kitchen as an Upesi stove.
If you want to start producing Upesi stove liners, you will need to consider the following:
Pottery skills: do you have them?
If no one in the project has pottery skills, making
pottery stoves will be difficult. There are many
different aspects in the identification of pottery
clays, the preparation of the clay, making the
stoves, firing the stoves, and understanding the
causes of, and solutions to problems that may
occur. Experienced potters know where to find
the clays, how to prepare and handle them, and
how to fire them. A potter's experience will help
solve problems in the production process.
Learning to make an Upesi stove is quite easy for
a skilled potter, but is more difficult for a person
with no pottery experience.
Fig. 2.1 Easy for a skilled potter
If no one in your project has any pottery skills, you could consider sending one or two people for training to
learn basic pottery skills. This type of training could take several months.
Do you have a source of good clay?
Where there is good clay, there will usually be a history of pottery, and potters who know where to find the
clay sources and how to prepare that particular clay. If, however, there are no pottery activities in your area,
you will need to find a clay source.
Seek out local knowledge. If there are no potters working now,
find out if there were any in the past. Ask older people. If you do
not succeed in finding a clay source this way, there are places
you can look. Wells, long-drop latrines and other excavations will
show you what types of soil and clay are there. If you can find a
source of clay in this way, you will know at what depth it can be
found. Once you have established that clay is available, you may
be able to find more accessible sources. Natural clay deposits
are often found along river banks. Alternatively, if you know an
area where the earth has large, deep cracks in the dry season,
then this soil may have a high clay content. Look for places
where the soil has been dug. If the surface left by a spade or hoe
is shiny this may indicate a high clay content.
Fig. 2.2 Testing the clay