NativeTech: Native American Technology & Art

Scenes from the Eastern Woodlands
A Virtual Tour ~ Circa 1550

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Making our pots ...
You will see how we make our clay vessels. Yesterday morning we went to the riverbank to dig some clay from the old lake deposits that the river cuts through. Later that day we sorted through the clay, taking out any small pebbles, sticks or other impurities. This clay is very fine, so we mixed in some crushed and burned sea shell and some sand. This added temper helps the clay withstand rapid temperature in the hot fire that will make the clay as hard as stone.

Today we began to make the pots, so first we kneaded the moist clay to make sure all the air bubbles are out. The older girl on the right is rolling out coils on the mat in front of her. She spirals each new coil onto the rim of the pot, joining them securely, one on top of the last, until the pot is high enough and is the right shape. The round bottomed pot sits in a hole dug into the ground, so that the pot sits upright and can be easily worked on.

The older woman's pot has dried to leather hardness. She now adds her family’s and people’s designs around the rim and collar of the pot. Patterns are applied with various tools such as scallop shells, toothed combs and even her fingernail. The two women in the background pile logs around pots which have dried for several weeks and are finally ready to be fired in a shallow hearth.

Making our pots ...
This series is now available as a soft-cover book:
"Woodland Windows," with expanded descriptive
text and additional resource materials

These scenes are also available as
Fine Art Note Cards

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© 1994 - Tara Prindle
unless otherwise cited.