You are on page 1of 2

Primitive Pot

Man began using clay to make pots about 12,000 years

ago, at the end of the Stone Age. However, the use of clay
as a material for making functional objects was discovered
Japanese Neolithic period pottery, Jomon culture.
accidentally. Archaeologists have found ancient clay shards with basket patterns,
much like the pottery of the Japanese Jomon culture of the Neolithic period. The
shards tell us that ancient people knew how to make baskets from organic
materials, but also that the baskets were not woven tight enough to hold water
or grain. Some inventive person from that ancient time smeared the malleable,
muddy clay on the interior of the basket and let it dry, which helped the basket
hold grain or berries more efficiently. Through another accident, a clay-lined
basket was put in the fire pit, and the basket burned away while the clay fired,
making the clay permanent. After being fired in the fire pit, the new clay basket
was permanent. If the new clay basket were dipped into a stream, it would hold its shape and would
not turn back into mud, because it had been vitrified in the fire pit. This story leads us to our first
primitive pot. Instead of a basket mold, we will use a bowl for our press mold.

Topic: Coil Pots & Using a Press Mold
Level: Apply & Create
Assessment: I will
1) Design a primitive bowl on paper, creating a
pattern of lines/coils, spirals, and various sizes of circles
2) Interpret the design in clay, using a plastic bowl as a mold, pressing the lines/coils, circles/balls of
clay into the mold
3) Fettle the interior and rim of the primitive pot with my fingers, a rib tool, a wooden modeling tool, etc.,
until all imperfections are removed and the interior of the pot is smooth, demonstrating good
4) Carve/incise to redefine the design on the exterior of the primitive pot where the coils, spirals and
circles are not well defined.
5) Create and attach 3-4 feet to the bowl using the score and slip method.
6) Define all vocabulary terms
7) Identify the elements of art; line, shape, texture. And principles of design; contrast, unity, pattern.
Contemporary coil pots made using a bowl as a press mold.

1) Complete 2 designs on paper. Designs are to include a
pattern or arrangement of lines/coils, spirals & circles that ONLY MAKE ENOUGH COILS
emphasize variety & contrast. Each bowl design must have FOR THE DAY! COILS DRY
a rim made from 1-3 coils of clay. VERY QUICKLY!
2) Line a plastic bowl with plastic wrap.
3) Always work from your design
4) Make some coils, spirals & balls of clay, keeping in mind
the proportional difference between your drawing & your
bowl. Begin with those in the center of the design. Work
from the center of the design outward to the edge.
5) Start pressing the clay shapes from the center of the CLAY TO YESTERDAYS CLAY!
design in the bottom of the bowl. Press gently so you
dont ruin the shapes! Gently smear the shapes together
with your fingers so they stick together.
6) Keep adding shapes & gently smearing them together until
the shapes are to 1 from the rim of the bowl/mold.
Remember to follow your paper design.
7) Make 1-3 coils with which you can form a rim for your
bowl. Each coil must be long enough to go around the rim
of the bowl by itself.
8) Add the coil rim & smear to attach to the rest of the bowl.
9) When you have finished, use your rib tool to fettle the
interior of the bowl until it is smooth & all the
imperfections have been removed. Do not press too hard
on the clay!
10) Make 3-4 feet for your bowl. When they are leatherhard,
score & slip them to the bowl. Add a small coil of clay
around the seam where the feet are attached & fettle that
area smooth.

Contemporary coil pot inspired by primitive pottery.