Friday, June 28, 2013

Guam Chamorro Pottery - Latte Period Red Clay Plain Pottery

Reproductions of Latte Period Red Clay plain pottery from Guam.

On GUAM, an island so rich in culture and history I am ofttimes left wondering where are all of the Chamorro craftsmen/women. Don't get me wrong, there are many fine Chamorro artists creating beautiful work but to date I have not found anyone making historical reproductions of pottery, no intricate weaving and no slinging.

So, in the absence of anyone to work with or learn from I have been teaching myself. These are my two newest redclay pots. These pots are examples of Latte-period plain pottery. The oval pot was formed on a pandanus leaf mat that I wove and has left its impression on the bottom of the pot. From what I have read, this is a common feature of Marianas pottery. With no turn tables like modern potters have to form clay vessels, pots were crafted and formed by hand. I discovered that forming the pot on a small mat of pandanus leaf helped in my being able work and turn the clay to form the oval pot.

The acorn-shaped pot is primarily used for cooking. The mouth is turned slightly inward to help keep in the heat. This style of pot was placed into the coals of a fire where its cone shape allowed the heat from the fire to evenly cook the contents of the pot. The "combed" texture on this pot is a common functional decoration. It is theorized that the slightly grooved texture made a non-slip surface on the pot.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Chamorro Pottery - Attempt 3

Anvil and paddle pottery making has proven a little more challenging than I had originally thought. In my third attempt I have sucessfully crafted two vessels.

The first is an oval bowl-like vessel, plain without lime impressions.

The second vessel is a tear-dropped shaped cooking vessel with a typical grooved impression made from a comb of coconut fiber. From what I have read and understand, the shape of the vessel allowed the heat from a cooking fire to uniformally heat the contents and the textured exterior is theorized as non-slip.

An interesting side note is how this vessel is similar in construction to cooking vessels found in North America. There is no cultural connectivity in how these vessels have the same characteristics other than to say that people from different areas of the ancient world found similar ways to meet the same challenges found in every day tasks.

These pots have not been fired yet, but I was so excited about how they turned out that I had to post them now. Once they have fully cured I will fire them in the kiln then test the cooking pot, perhaps making a pot of rice to see how it works.