Pottery is the art of making pots with various kinds of material like earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. ASTM or American Society for Testing and Materials defines pottery as 'all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical, structural and refractory product'. Pottery is basically formed by using clay and making it into object of different shapes. These are generally heated to high temperatures in a kiln to ensure that the shape given to the object becomes permanent.
The raw material used in pottery depends mainly on the location where the pottery is done. This is mainly due to the availability of the raw material. Some people think that the earliest pottery was baked in bonfires. The time that this took was less but the temperatures in the bonfire reached extremely high levels. Some of the earliest known ceramic pottery is Gravettian figurines that were discovered in Dolni Vestonice in Czech Republic. Some of the figurines here were dated as far back as 29,000 BC. Pottery in Japan has been found that dates back to 10,500 BC. Some pottery made in South Africa dates back to 10,000 BC. The invention of the potter's wheel is attributed to Mesopotamia sometime between 6000 BC and 400 BC. Pottery was also made during the Mehrgarh period in Northwest India. Items like the ed-Dur vessels were discovered in the Indus Valley region.
The technologies that are used today have created some environmental issues. There are some issues that are caused among the workers who create pottery and the effect on the environment at large. Workers get badly affected due to poor quality of indoor air, high sound levels and over illumination. High levels of fuel consumption, off sire water pollution, air pollution and hazardous material are some effects on the general environment. However, none of these are a concern when you practice pottery as a hobby.
Some of the methods that are used while making pottery include hand building, potter's wheel, granulate pressing, injection molding, jiggering and jolleying, roller head machine, pressure casting, RAM pressing and slipcasting.
There are various kinds of methods in which you can decorate and glaze pottery to make it look great. Patterns can be added on the surface. Underglaze decoration, in-glaze decoration and on-glaze decoration are other options that are available. Additives are sometimes added in the clay to create different kinds of effects. Banding, burnishing, engobe and litho are some of the methods that are used to create great designs.
Adopting pottery as a hobby is a great commitment because it takes too much time to perfect. However when you are practicing and are one with the earth, you will probably discover a completely different 'yourself'.
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