Andrew's Workshop


Back to the Basics - Adventures in Primitive Pottery

30 Sep 2015

I work as a computer programmer by day - Java programming to be exact. Its enjoyable work, but sometimes it leaves me feeling a bit disconnected. We use a baffling array of tools at work; each one building upon the next. In one simple project I may use a dozen or so libraries that were written by folks that depend on other libraries, which in turn depend on the guy who built the language, which depends on the guy who wrote the assembler. Somewhere down there somebody actually designed the machine code that executes all these computer instructions. Someone else was responsible for manufacturing the chip that executes said machine code and on and on ad infinitum! Some may become masters of one or two of these layers, but I'm sure that almost no one has full mastery of every piece of technology needed to actually run a computer program.

The point is, we are standing on the shoulders of so many giants we can't even see the guy at the bottom anymore! Something tells me that life use to be simpler. I feel it in my bones that life should be simpler. I plan on making it so. What does all this have to do with pottery, you ask? The technology to make pottery has been a cornerstone of countless civilizations for tens of thousands of years. It's been said that pottery was accidentally discovered by someone leaving a mud-lined basket too close to the fire. The fire hardened the mud and ceramics was born! Whole villages have been built around this one crucial act of making pottery for millinia. Pots for cooking, pots for storing the harvest. Some for carrying water, and some just for pure artistries sake. This is a process that have great historical significance, and its a process that one can master from top to bottom.

It all starts with the clay. These pots began their life as clay/dirt dug from my backyard; sifted and purified to become a usable substance.

Green, unfired wares.

Assortment of Pots

Into the kiln!

Assortment of Pots

Closeup inside

Assortment of Pots

Turn up the heat

Assortment of Pots


Assortment of Pots

Finished fired pots

Assortment of Pots

One of these days I'll update this post with more details on the clay harvesting and purificating process. Until next time...