First batch of homemade Black Clay
Second Small Bowl
Homemade Black Clay
Oxidized Pit Fired
ANCIENT & PRE-CONTACT CADDO METHODS AND MATERIALS
HAND-DUG and HAND-PROCESSED CLAY
After searching and discovering the ancient ways of digging and processing clay from our Caddo homelands for around 3 years it became very apparent to me that the clay I have learned about in this region is different and requires special processing that separates it from the clays used in the Southwest (Pueblo clays) and from modern clays.
What I have come to determine is that the clay from the Southwest that the Pueblos use is more up an uplands or highlands clay that is then mixed with a temper that is determined by the tradition of the specific Pueblo. For example, I think the Hopi used a crushed rock, Taos uses mica, and some Tewa tribes use crushed volcanic pumice. The clays of the Caddo homelands are much different. Mostly lowlands or alluvial clays are used which are created not from direct erosion of mountains, but rather, from the collection of rivers over time. These clays tend to have a much higher concentration of iron oxides and thus a lower vitrification temperature. They also require a coarser temper to survive another method that is very different from Southwestern tribes: pit-firing.
These unique methods can be discovered by anyone, but I was not shown the way directly. It has taken me over 3 years to perfect my methods and therefore I feel that this is now special information that is unique and special to the Caddos. If you are Caddo, please contact me by phone or email and I would be more than willing to email you a PDF of or discuss in detail everything I have learned about the ancient process of making Caddo clay.
I will also be putting on clay making classes at the Caddo Headquarters and at my home occasionally that are open to anyone. The classes will be posted on this site.
ANCIENT METHOD OF "PIT-FIRING" (open bonfire)
All of my fully traditional Caddo pottery pieces are primitive pit-fired in this manner. From now moving forward it has come apparent to me that the ancient legacy and traditions of Caddo pottery making has tremendous value, not only to those that are interested in Native American pottery and collectors, but more importantly to the Caddo tribal members that might be interested in the future in making a livelihood from our precious knowledge and traditional techniques. I will continue to teach and educate the public about the awareness of ancient Caddo pottery and our own tribal members exactly how to do Caddo Pit-fires through classes at headquarters and personal classes to anyone that is interested, at my home in Oklahoma. Please contact me if you would like personal lessons on primitive pit-firing and potterymaking..
modified barrel firing
Jeri Redcorn over for Veteren's Day, teaching me how to close the neck.
Clay from the White River, Arkansas River with mussell shell and fired to 1316 degrees F.
This was the pit fire from the Caddo Clay class with John Miller.
Personal clay and pit fire lesson to a fellow Caddo.
Personal pit fire lesson to a close friend and related Muscogee Creek Indian.
Dr. Ian Thompson (Choctaw) Pit fire demonstration in Durant, OK.
Large traditional and pitfired Caddo jar Tah-nah-hah (Buffalo).
Professor Wayneth Weddle of ECU gets a personal lesson in traditional Caddo clay and pit-firing.
Pit fire from the First Annual Traditional Caddo Pit-fire in Binger, OK.
Fired a small bottle for Ian Thompson, Shatah Bahateno, "Choctaw Red River"
Fired a very large deep carved bowl that the bottom blew out of it. It was over 1 inch thick in parts and was not sufficiently dried in the bottommost region and the moisture exploded out after being in the pitfire for 30 minutes.
Fired the award winning bowl Kahwis Bahateno successfully before Indian Market.
Fire at Dr. Ian Thompson's with Choctaw Pottery Group.
Fire at Dr. Ian Thompson's.
I apologize I have not been keeping up with all the firings I have been doing. They have become so numerous and often that I have not been able to record all of them. Most of the time now all I can do is post a few pictures on my Facebook page. There have been well over 100 firings since I began.
Back to top