Pottery through the Ages Part 1: Neolithic Earthenware
One of the most ancient techniques humans have created, perhaps one of the greatest inventions ever: pottery. Welcome back to the Premier Patio blog where we dole out party advice, furniture styling tips, and even history lessons! That’s right, this time around we are going to go over a brief (maybe the briefest) history of pottery.
The beginning of pottery goes way back to preliterate cultures, meaning there is no written history of the creation or use of pottery, but because pottery is so tough, shards of it are found millennia later and numerous archaeological dig sites. Early pottery was shaped by hand, using methods such as pinching and coiling to form the shapes. The earliest way for cultures to fire the pottery, and thus make them hard, was by using bonfire pits. The material used in the pottery and ceramics was traditionally whatever clay was nearby or on hand. For instance, China has huge amounts and varieties of clay deposits and because of that they were able to advance in pottery at a rapid rate.
The very earliest forms of pottery were made Earthenware, and have seen continuous use from the Neolithic til today. Earthenware can made from a wide variety of clays and can be fired at lower temperatures which is, in part, why its use was so widespread and so long. The end product being opaque and non-vitreous. There are many types of earthenware, including terracotta, Raku, and more. They can be glazed in a number of ways, but the most common earthenware we’re likely to see are those terracotta products made for flower pots and outdoor tiles.
There are many more types of pottery out there including stoneware and porcelain a number of specialties within that. We’ve barely scratched the surface, and in fact that digression into earthenware took up a bit more time than we expected it to. Maybe next month we’ll go into more details including the other types of pottery and various fun facts. Until then enjoy the summer, enjoy your patios.