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Getting Creative..

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In another light we find ourselves judged not by what we do but what we failed to even attempt to do. One aspect of the human race that I find so fascinating is our ability to adapt and evolve our skill set to match our environment. Unlike other animals, we can within one generation learn new things that enable us to survive and then pass those skills down to other generations of humans without the need to program said skill into our genome. Therefore we can adapt and thrive in a much more versatile way. Naturally one has to acknowledge the downside of this adaptation is that we can likewise become so specialized at our skills (like we are today) that we forget to keep some of those more primitive and essential techniques in our memory and thus, fail at survival during those periods of transition and regression.

So it comes to my mind that I must learn a new skill and attempt to at least emulate my ancestors of thousands of years ago who by sheer audacity and strength of will managed a hard existence of living off the land with no prior wealth or skills (aside from what evolution gave them). One of those learned and refined methods was pottery and has been considered a staple of most societies. It was our foray into chemistry, art, utility and science that at a deeper level gave us cooking utensils, storage, fermentation vessels, cups/bowls, writing tablets, statues, buildings, lamps/lighting, spas, baths, beekeeping (when combined with wicker), war paint, the space age (look at the underside of the shuttle), ceramic knives (the sharpest in the world apparently), glass making, computers, and countless other things that were related to it. Truly if there is one learned technology that we can not ignore from our past, it is the science and art of pottery.

With that thought expressed, I had it in my mind to dig a nice hole somewhere and start finding clay to refine it and use. I researched videos and articles on the history of pottery and clay making. After a while I realized what needed to be done, but the real issue was one of time and not leaving large dips in the landscape that I occupy. My course changed direction and I opted instead to simply buy natural clay ( instead of that imitation plastic toxic crap) and work some small models and ideas. Interestingly my first idea was to make a Mazer Cup or chalice and oil lamps like those of antiquity. When doing some internet searches I found many early cups were simply bowls and were multiuse items of early man, and seeing it fitting to emulate them I went about and made two small bowls of my own. In addition I made two recreations of what would be our earliest pottery lamps (around 1500BC – 800BC).. apparently they too were bowls with a small pinch on one end to hold a wick (sort of like a seashell). Thinking of adding extra light to our modern world, I made a smaller version of one with four spots for wicks that would burn brighter, but need more refilling as an idea for a later experiment. Next I made two lamps that attempt to mimic the oil lamps of arabia.. they look like Aladdin lamps and should work nicely if they can be fired properly. Lastly I made two molds of my personal Roman Legion oil lamp reproduction in an attempt to make a useable form from which to copy it later on. The only reason why I am choosing to do that instead of just buying another (they sold for $10) is because the maker of those lamps has since quit making them and I can not source another that I want.

So take a look at the picture below, they are slowly drying and once finished I shall attempt to fire them outside in a pit. Hopefully they will not break or be destroyed ( I read that a large portion of pottery never makes if through the firing). Once completed I will post and update for you with more tests for usefulness.

Oh, and for those of you who want to try making your own pottery things, a ten pound box of this natural clay cost $10 American. My aunt bought it for me because she knew I was thinking about this and wanted to treat me.. So she will be getting a lamp or two if it survives. 

Enjoy your weekend people!



Written by Josecito

April 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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