THE HISTORY OF POTTERY
Basically, pottery is using clay to make things like plates, dishes, cups, pots, and jars, and using them for various purposes. Pottery is one activity that is popular for more reasons than one. Firstly, clay is easily obtainable and cheap, and almost anyone can make a pot from it. It can also be made waterproof and is very easy-to-clean. Furthermore, it can be made beautiful, and is something that is very original.
Pottery first appeared in the East Asian countries of Japan and China in around 14,000 BC, much before they had started with farming. This pottery was characterized by pushing a hole into a ball of clay, or making a long clay-snake and then coiling it into a pot-like shape. Early pots that were made in Japan were known to be buried in the ground to store things.
Pottery and its uses spread from West Asia to East Asia, going through Mesopotamia and the Eastern Mediterranean, and spread to North Africa in around the beginning of the Neolithic period in 6000 BC. For many Africans, pottery was a great way of storing grains safely. Pottery reached Greece in around 5000 BC.
In the American continents, pottery is believed to have begun first in Brazil in around 5500 BC, primarily to preserve fish and keep it from fermenting. From here, the art gradually began to expand north, and then went on to spread to the fish-eating ancestors of the Native American tribes of Georgia and Florida by around 4500 BC.
The European settlers who later arrived and colonized these areas, too, had an important role on play in the kind of pottery that formed there, remnants of which are still visible today. Baked-clay work began to be undertaken by colonists in as early as 1612; most of them were the Dutch. The first ever whiteware emerged in 1684, whereas the first stoneware work emerged in what is now New York in 1735. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts set up their own terracotta factories (and made the vary famous earthenware of Shenandoah) soon after, and parallel to that, the very famous Jugtown Pottery was born in North Carolina – all in and around the mid-18th century. America saw its first fine china circa 1769 in Philadelphia.
By the 1840’s, America had a thriving pottery industry with East Liverpool in Ohio becoming the hub of pottery production. Many iconic varieties of pottery were created during this period, like the Redware and Yellowware, the American Rockinghamware and the ironstone, among others. This pottery combined the styles of Native Americans and the techniques and structural designs of the European settlers, which gave rise to something unique and different, yet managed to be absolutely beautiful and exquisite.
With such a wide history and a legacy of designs behind them, and an unimaginably large range of available materials, artists and potters today can mix and match various mediums, techniques and styles. Take for instance, the Emerson Creek Pottery in Virginia,, which combines traditional ceramic methods with the traditional Japanese Sumi-e brush to give rise to a signature style of its own, and setting an example of modern creations meeting old-world substance.