Group E Lab Data: Week 3 (Pottery)


Our group’s process was rather different than the other groups’ because we were using clay from the Carleton Arboretum, gathered by geology and pottery students at Carleton, rather than the mass-produced combination clay used in most modern pottery studios. We began by first grinding arb clay that had been dried for months, and perhaps over a year, under rough stone bricks. When the clay was ground into a fine particulate, we removed larger stones and pieces of gravel before rehydrating the clay with freshwater. We rehydrated to the touch, so there were plenty of moments where we overestimated the amount of water we needed, and had to add more ground clay so the final product would not be too wet. When the clay body felt right, we formed it into a series of pots during the lab period that we processed the next day.


The first challenge that our group faced was rehydrating the dried clay. The ground clay powder has to have water added and worked into it before it can be formed into a workable clay body for forming a pot. However, all of us fell prey to overwatering the mixture even though we were adding moisture piecemeal, and had to grind up additional clay to balance out the composition of the clay body. 

The next difficulty came with forming. None of us had ever done ceramics before to a serious extent, so we had little inkling of how to actually shape a pot. None of us were able to get the desired form on the first go, and instead had to restart at least once to have a better balance between the pinch pot base and the coiled section of the pot. 


OriginalAfter 1 DayLossBefore FiringLossAfter FiringLoss
Diameter (rim)57mm57mm0mm57mm0mm56mm1mm
Diameter (widest)103mm101mm2mm101mm0mm100mm1mm
Wall Section6mm7mm-1mm7mm0mm5mm2mm
Scott Hudson’s Pottery Data. Negative loss in weight (a.k.a. weight gain) likely came from an error due the original weighing environment (scale on an in-use pottery table). Negative loss on wall section likely due to uneven width of the rim, where measurement is taken.
OriginalAfter 1 DayLossBefore FiringLossAfter FiringLoss
Diameter (rim)5cm5cm0cm4.5cm0.5cm5cm-0.5cm
Diameter (widest)11cm11cm0cm10cm1cm10cm0cm
Wall Section9.85mm8.01mm1.84mm4.28mm3.73mm10.15mm-5.87mm
Gisele Nelson’s Pottery Data. Negative loss likely due to uneven diameters and wall sections.
OriginalAfter 1 DayLossBefore FiringLossAfter FiringLoss
Diameter (rim)47.5mm42mm5.5mm65.79mm
Diameter (widest)84mm80mm4mm87.90mm
Wall Section11.8mm11.8mm0mm11.2mm
Alex Wilson’s Pottery Data.

Post-Firing Reflection

After firing, all of our pots made it! Compared to other groups, it seems like the natural tempering in the arb clay makes a substantial improvement on survivability during the firing process. The color also closely resembles that of Anglo-Saxon pottery, which makes sense considering the similarities between Arb and English wild clays.

0 thoughts on “Group E Lab Data: Week 3 (Pottery)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.