Beneficial Results of a Tactical Failure

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Beneficial Results of a Tactical Failure

When I first examined this assignment, I decided that I would make some piece of pottery that I believed would have been useful to my ancestors. I wanted to make something simple, as I had no experience working with clay. I thought that a small bowl capable of holding a small amount of water would be my best bet. However, when I arrived at Aura Ceramics my intentions changed.

Once I sat down to make my pottery, I decided to make something I thought would have been useful to hunter-gatherer societies, to the individuals that first utilized pottery. I tried to imagine what sorts of vessels would have been a necessity to these people. I concluded that a larger container capable of carrying water over distances would have been more useful than a smaller bowl. I wanted to make a container large enough to transport water. It needed to be light enough to carry for long periods of time. And, it would have to be durable so as not to crack or spill water while being transported. With these thoughts in mind, I began molding my clay.

I started by making a fairly large basin that I estimated would have held just under a gallon of water. I figured that would have been sufficient for an individual's daily consumption. Next, I began condensing the top of the vessel into a small neck-like form in which something like a cork could be placed to prevent water from spilling out once inside the pottery. Finally, above the neck, I molded a funnel. The funnel would have made scooping and filling this container with water from an open source much easier.

Unfortunately, my creation did not survive the heating process, so I do not have a finished product to demonstrate. However, I can best describe the container as looking much like a spittoon with a smaller opening at the neck of the container. After observing the transitions which the pots my classmates made went through, I can conclude that my container would have been useful to early hunters and gatherers. After the pottery was processed in the kiln it weighed less than it had when the clay was wet. Judging the differential in these weights from the other students' creations, I believe my finished product, with the gallon of water it was meant to hold, would have weighed around ten pounds.

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