How to Make Anasazi Pottery

Making pottery was a very important part of life in the Anasazi culture. This was a way for them to show their creativity, release stress, and make a living. For some of the Anasazi, the most important designs would go on the inside of the pots.

Steps

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    Take a large lump of air drying or firing clay.
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    Mold part of the clay into a ball about an inch and a half in diameter.
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    Flatten the ball into a circle about a fourth of an inch thick (the base of the pot).
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    Roughen the top edge.
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    Use a brush dipped in water to moisten the top.
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    Roll a separate piece of clay between your hands or on the top of the table to form a long, narrow “snake.
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    Wind the snake along the top edge of the pot’s base.
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    Make more snakes from clay and repeat this several times, winding the snakes on top of each other until the pots are about three inches high.
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    Smooth together the areas where the snakes touch each other, including where the first snake touches the pot’s base. Do this by holding one hand against the inside of the pot to support the wall, while shaping the outside of the pot with your finger at the same spot. When smoothing the sides of the pot, try to keep the walls of the pot the same thickness.
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    Rub the surface smooth with a smooth rock, a shell, or the back of a spoon. The clay has to be moist if the walls are to be textured.
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    Use a scallop shell, a piece of corncob, or string pressed into the soft clay to produce texture.
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    To scratch a design on the walls of the pot, let the pot dry a little.
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    Carve a design on the walls with a sharp stick once it is firm but still damp.
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    Let the pots dry for three or four days, or bake them at medium temperature for two or three hours.
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    Once the pots have dried, decorate them with tempera paints. You can decorate the inside, outside, or both.

Things You'll Need

  • Air drying or firing clay
  • Soft brush
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tempera paints
  • Piece of gourd or shell for smoothing
  • Sharp stick, piece of corncob, scallop shell, or string for texture (optional)
  • Jar of water

Article Info

Categories: Clay Projects