Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Completed Choris and Thule Pottery

Thule pot sherd and pot
Here's a look at the end product from the Thule and Choris pottery that I was working on earlier this spring for the Cape Krusenstern order.  The goal was to produce two large paddle impressed sherds of Thule pottery based on a specific artifact and an assortment of at least two fragments of paddle impressed Choris pottery.  The complete vessels shown in the photos were back ups in case I ran into problems and needed more pots to break.  Luckily, I didn't have major problems and I have a complete Thule and Choris pot to display in my office.

The sherds came from the half pot
 I'm very pleased with how the clay pots turned out.  In the future I'd like to experiment more with the firing process and see if I can't get a harder ceramic, but based on what I've read about Alaskan pottery and other people's experiments, these vessels are well within the range of pottery that was produced in Alaska.  They are very soft and really not much more than dried clay.  When I cut the Thule pot in half with a dremel to create the two large sherds the vessel walls had the consistency of drywall.  There was a very thin glazed layer, especially on the inside that was a little harder and more durable that I believe formed from the seal blood and fat layer in the firing.  Considering how soft the interior of the walls were this layer would have been pretty important in protecting the vessel and keeping it all in one piece.

These are the final sherds that I included in the order.  I touched them up a bit to antique them, but generally I'm pleased with the results.  They look a lot like the sorts of sherds that show up in archaeological sites.
A complete Choris pot and sherds from a similar vessel
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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