The Process: Pottery Pigments
Making pottery requires many steps. Today we will discuss the making of the red pigment. The special red clay is harvested and collected in a culturally appropriate manner, prayer and gratitude are a major part of the process. While there are many different methods to process pigments, this is our process.
Once collected, it is taken home and the next phase begins turning it into dust and powder. You can use rocks, hammers, or anything that will help breakdown the compacted pigment into a fine powder and dust. We work outdoors as the fine dust will get into everything. Our choice is to use a twice purposed white cloth. As you work fine dust with go through the cloth, its important to capture as this is potter’s gold.
This becomes a family affair. Everyone comes out and lends a helping hand while we enjoy each other's company, talk and laugh about current events or historical do-you-remember when. We believe this positive energy travels into the pigment. When used, it produces happy and cheerful, designs, and pottery. After the powdery dust is broken down, it is mixed with water and placed in a sieve. The mixture is strained to just get the juice. The pigment is collected in a jar and is ready for use.
Below is an example of handmade and painted pottery using both commercial paints and traditional pigments. Happy pottery.