Primitive Pottery

I’ve been wanting to make another container for boiling water besides a burn bowl. Making pottery seemed like a good method. I sourced some clay from the riverbank and mixed it with sand to act as a temper (Temper helps keep the pot from breaking during the firing process). I used one hand-sized ball of clay with 1/2 a cup of sand. This was just a guess for the first trial.
Craig clay river bankCraig ball of river clay 2
The clay was very moist from being on the riverbank so I left some chunks out on the counter to dry out a bit.
Craig balls of river clay
After a day of drying, I shaped the clay into small pinch pots.
Craig Primitive Pottery
I waited a few days for the pots to dry completely, and then made a fire to preheat the pots. I then placed the pots inside a large ring of fire.
craig firing pots
After they had been in there for an hour or so I added wood to the top of the fire so that they could cook the rest of the way.
firing pots in firefiring pots in coals 3

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After several hours the coals had burned down, allowing the pots to slowly cool.
firing pots in coals firing pots in coals 2
The larger of the two pots had a piece crack off early during the firing process however the main portion was still useable. Unfortunately once the pots had a chance to cool completely I realized they both had a hairline crack running through them.
craig finished fired pots with cracks craig finished fired pots
Obviously I wish they hadn’t cracked, but overall I’m very pleased with the results. I was able to whip these out from local clay that I had found and harvested myself. While they will leak water, I’m sure I can find some other uses for these pots. I may try to temporarily seal them with some pitch or wax from my bee hives so I can enjoy a bowl of Lucky Charms…

I plan on using this experience to create some fancier coil pots, and to experiment with different amounts of temper mixed into my material.

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