Fascinating pots in exquisite shapes, glazed or raw and earthy, clay pottery has been an ancient art that still holds a timeless appeal. From the blues of Staffordshire pottery to the vibrant hues of Mexican clay pottery or red terracotta pottery, you can find elegant and exquisite pieces. Use them in your kitchen or your garden or even to add a striking element in your home decor. While unglazed clay pottery has a rough and natural appearance, glazed pottery holds it's own with intricate patterns and vivid designs.
Pottery tends to be coarser than porcelain and can be broadly classified as earthenware or stoneware. Earthenware is usually of buff, brown or red color depending on the color of the clay used. Earthenware pottery is porous and not as strong as stoneware. Earthenware pottery made of red clay is called terracotta. If this type of clay pottery is glazed, it can be used for liquids and used in microwaves too. Stoneware is non-porous and can take different colors.
Stoneware is usually vitreous or semi-vitreous, not translucent. Clay pottery is often glazed or coated with a thin layer of glassy paint. This glaze is dusted or sprayed or brushed on to the clay pottery. A glaze seals and smoothens as well as colors the surface of the clay pottery. Compounds of aluminates, silicates, oxides and tin or lead or copper are used for glazing. Clay pottery vases, urns and chalices can be used to decorate your living space. Team up exquisitely crafted clay pottery bases with lamp shades.
Clay pottery must be used for cooking only if the coloring and glazing is made from safe materials. Beware of items that contain lead paint. Clay pottery items, if used for cooking can wear over time and become damaged. Though clay pottery items can handle very high and low temperatures, sudden temperature changes must be avoided. They must not be placed over direct heat. Do not place cold clay vessels in the oven. Soak the dishes or pots in soapy water and then scrub gently to clean them.
Mexican Clay Pottery
Due to the abundance of clay found in the region, clay pottery has been part of the rich native tradition of Mexico. Ancient pottery techniques are still employed in many parts of rural Mexico, be it coil building, open firing or use of natural pigments. The famous 'majolica' or 'talavera' styles of ceramic pottery from Mexico are famous all over the world.
From large table dishes to simple pots and contemporary works of art, the designs and styles of Mexican clay pottery bear a typical style. You can pick some dish sets, colorful tiles, glass and ceramic twisters, pre-Hispanic motifs and terracotta or glazed pottery. Mexican clay pottery is a riot of bold colors - white, blue, green and black. Look for pots that are well proportioned and balanced with respect to size and design. The painted surface must be smooth and even.
Making Clay Pottery
Any study of any ancient civilization reveals various pottery articles indicating that this was probably one of the earliest crafts known to man. Using mud and clay, early man fashioned objects in his hands and sun-dried them. Each geographical location played a role in the kind of clay pottery it specialized in. Designs, shapes and colors were influenced by local raw materials and culture.
The earliest pottery was sun-dried and fashioned entirely by hand and is followed in some parts of the world to this day. Fire-baked pottery, however, was being produced in China and Egypt in the second millennium BC. Indigenous minerals were used to fashion clay articles in different colors. Pottery depends on two important qualities possessed by clay: its plasticity and its convertibility, through the action of heat, into a hard, durable substance.
Red Clay Pottery
Red clay pottery exudes warmth from its earthy tones and can be used for kitchen utensils and home décor alike. You can use red clay pots for planting your seasonal herbs and indoor plants. This type of clay pottery is warm, red-brown and earthy in appearance. Clay pottery can be formed or molded into intricate patterns.
Unglazed pottery pots are porous, and plant roots remain cooler and dry out more quicker than in glazed pots. Ensure good drainage with all kinds of clay pottery containers. Use clay pottery drip saucers or trays under the pots to catch escaping water. Be it the simple round pots or decorative pots and planters, red clay pottery has a timeless appeal. Pick up exquisite terracotta pottery for your home.