The site Diana chose to focus on for her project, entitled Ash to Brick, Seeing the Unseen, was the Ash Tunnel. This was where the fuel and household rubbish from Cambridge was burnt in the destructor cells. The resulting clinker and ash was then raked out from the grate by stoke workers before being taken away in the ash carts to be used to fill in brick-pits and mend roads. Ash was also an ingredient used in the making of bricks. Below are two charcoal drawings which Diana drew to evoke the conditions of the ash tunnel when it was fully functioning. The second drawing depicts the ash cart, which is the object Diana chose to focus her project on.
Click here to see an interview with Diana where she explains her process.
Since ash was a key ingredient in the making of bricks, Diana proposed to have a pop-up activity where visitors to the museum could make their own personalised bricks. This idea was inspired by her own brick-making experiments where she made her own bricks from various mixtures of cold water, ash, plaster and mortar. She proposed a re-design of the ash cart with a built in worktop for holding a brick as it is made and customised by the visitors, as well as a slanted edge for ease of tipping the mixture into a funnel. Below is Diana's proposal with a visitor pushing their customised brick along with one of her re-designed ash carts, and beneath that are her brick-making experiments.
Beginning at the first destructor cell, with an ash cart Diana's proposed users would be able to push along their own ash cart and, rake in hand, go about adding the water and then the plaster to form their unique custom-made bricks. This interactive process would bring the functionality ash tunnel and the sooty reality of the stoke workers to life for a modern day visitor to the museum, as well as providing them with their very own memento to the industrial history of Cambridge as made by their own hand.
Click here to continue with the exhibition.