There are any number of us who can say honestly that one of the easiest things we’ve ever done in our lives is develop an appreciation for Native American pottery. It’s beautiful, it’s enchanting, and its diversity means there is always something more to learn, more to see.
Of course, it isn’t just Native American pottery that’s beautiful and enchanting. Many of who appreciate pottery enjoy exploring styles and techniques from around the world.
And we’re grateful for the potters who made this for us and to the potter’s wheel that helped them do so.
And it’s the potter’s wheel that makes Native American pottery so fascinating. This is because Native American potters never used a wheel. Instead, these master craftsmen and women fashioned every piece of pottery by hand entirely.
These masters of Native American pottery used many techniques to create their wares but apparently never discovered the need for the mechanical intervention of the potter’s wheel, in any of its forms.
Instead, the crafting of Native American pottery relied upon other techniques that seem all the more fascinating in the absence of the potter’s wheel. Native American potters became masters of such techniques as sculpture, padding, coiling, and press molding.
These makers of Native American pottery crafted their wares to be used as functional tools that eased the burden of daily living. Cups, bowls, jugs, urns, and other vessels of storage were developed. Exact styles, shapes, and materials used vary geographically because the needs of the individuals varies, too, and so do materials available.
Native American pottery uses are not limited to those of mere function, however. Decorative objects designed for personal adornment were made from clay, too, as were sacred objects used exclusively for ritual and ceremony.
The more decorative aspects of Native American pottery making include beadwork, talismans and other figurines, pipes and flutes, and ceremonial masks.
Yes, it’s quite easy to develop an interest in Native American pottery. It’s beautiful. It’s functional. And it fascinates, too.