Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Sunday, January 31, 2016

African Pottery Traditional Functional Art

The making of pottery in Africa began around 6000 BC and continues to this day in the many regions on the African continent. 



Tools used to make pottery are anything easily available such as a rock with a somewhat flat bottom, or a stick.
Forming a large clay pot by hand
Pottery is clay that is modeled, dried, and fired having practical uses in cooking, storing food, eating, drinking, and as ceremonial vessels. In most cases, pottery is made by women. Clay pots are often thick created from clay, sand, and water and used daily in African life. 

African pottery artists have always used raw materials easily found in the environment. 
After drying, the pots are put around a pile of wood, bark or dried animal dung and baked outdoors in a large open fire for many hours.
Pots ready for firing

Clay is found in abundance everywhere on the African continent. Gathering the right type of clay is the first step, African women who have been making pots for generations are able to recognize good clay and other materials for making durable pottery.

Pottery has a utilitarian use in cooking, storing food items, eating, drinking, and as ritual vessels. Tools used to make pottery are anything easily available such as a rock with a somewhat flat bottom, or a stick. 



Clay is worked by hand and shaped and fashioned into the desired shape free hand by pinching, coiling, and slabs work.
Adding coils to the pot
Clay is worked by hand and shaped and fashioned into the desired shape free hand by pinching, coiling, and slabs work. Coiling is the technique of rolling out coils of clay and joining to the pot using slip. Coiling has been used to shape clay into vessels for many thousands of years in Africa. After drying, the pots are put around a pile of wood, bark or dried animal dung and baked outdoors in a large open fire for many hours. 

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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind
African Proverb