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DM Tips:Crafts

Pottery is the shaping of clay into a cup, vase, jug, etc and then firing it in a kiln to drive out all the moisture and make it impervious. Pottery lasts indefinitely although it is somewhat fragile. A Potter needs a wheel, often powered by a foot crank or a small water wheel, a large kiln (a special oven), a good supply of charcoal for smooth burning, water to keep the clay moist, and, of course good quality clay. Potters also often use various glazes and powders to colour the clay as it is fired or paint the baked pottery.
Before starting to make piece of pottery, the potter must first make clay. Simply digging clay out of the ground does not assure them of the necessary quality and consistency.

[top]Making clay

  • 1. Dig the clay out of the ground.

  • 2. Add clay to a pug mill ? a circular well 5-6 feet across and as deep above which is a turning post.

  • 3. Add a lot of water to the pug mill.

  • 4. Have donkeys or some other cheap animal turn the huge paddles set above the pug mill to churn up the lumps of clay and water.

  • 5. When it is all mixed up, the slurry is pumped or hauled out and poured over a series of sieves into a drying bed. The clay, now free from small stones, twigs, and any other impurities is deposited on the bottom of the drying bed.

  • 6. The dry clay is carved out in blocks.

  • 7. The blocks are wedged ? slammed down onto a block, kneaded, cut in two and the two bits slammed together. This is repeated several times until any air bubbles in the clay have been bashed out.

Potters may add powdered bone (a Muden speciality), metal dust, or other dusts to the pug mill to add certain qualities to the clay.

[top]Making the pot

  • 1. The potter takes a lump of moist clay and places it in the centre of the pottery wheel.

  • 2. The potter centre's the clay by hand, until it is exactly in the middle of the spinning wheel.

  • 3. Adding water as required, the potter uses their hands to shape the spinning clay, the clay can be shaped into any simple round object.

  • 4. The Potter cuts of any excess clay at the top.

  • 5. The potter makes non-round adjustments such as adding a spout, or pulling the clay into a square shape.

  • 6. The potter adds a handle using a thin strip of clay, with clay and water slurry used to stick it in place.

  • 7. The potter pre-decorates the pot with etchings, glaze or powder.

  • 8. The pot is fired in the kiln.

  • 9. Any additional decoration such as paint is added.

The potter may add nuts in the kiln to add a slight shine to the pots as they are fired.
For very large pots such as ceramic vats and water butts, no pottery wheel could hold the mass of clay or turn it. The coiled pot technique involves spinning a base and perhaps the first 18 inches of the side. This is allowed to dry, and a thick coil of clay it built up on it and then smoothed. This is allowed to dry and then another layer of clay is added. Layers are added until the pot is finished. The pot is then carried, or for large vats has a kiln built around it, and is fired.
The finest pottery in all Cerilia is made in the south of Zikala and Ariya by the Khinasi, Khinasi pottery is noted for its fine white finish and almost translucent properties, though the secret of its crafting is kept closely hidden. This porcelain as it is termed in Anuire is traded as far afield as Brechtur. Every civilised culture in Cerilia works pottery with the possible exception of the sidhe who prefer wooden utensils.

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