American Indian Pottery

Handcrafted American Indian pottery

Native American people have created pottery for centuries. Historians and archaeologists have found evidence of these pieces dating back to 25,000 BC and possibly even earlier. The unique thing is that the process of creating American Indian pottery hasn't changed much over time. Most art forms evolve and change to catch up with new technologies, but these are created in modern ways the same way that their ancestors did.

The early days of American Indian pottery focused on functional pieces. These weren't vases to store flowers or a decorative piece to sit on the counter; these were pieces that were used by the tribe. They stored their food inside as well as seeds and grains. They were quite popular in tribes that focused on farming or agriculture.

Resources on pottery created by Native American people include:

The process of creating a pot or piece of pottery began with a simple lump of clay. The maker used their own hands to carefully sculpt the clay into the pot. They used a process known as pinching, where they pinched pieces of the clay to crimp the edges or make some type of decoration on the pot. The decorations were the one thing that set tribes apart.

Some tribes like the Pueblo placed figures on the pot prior to the firing. Other tribes didn't use designs because the pot itself was a design. They took long, thin coils of clay and wrapped them around and on top of each other to create the pot. Those who did use designs though, typically carved the designs onto the face using a sharp instrument similar to a chisel. The pot then went into a hot kiln or over and baked until the clay dried out and fused together. Designers today use this same process, except that they may paint the pot or use a sealant to protect the color and design. Though American Indian pots are highly popular, the basic idea behind them hasn't changed much.

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