Horsehair Pottery Demonstration

Left to right: Sandy Fried, Lisa Workman, Ronda Olsen, Kathy Labon, and Sherrill Simmons

Grant Simmons and Sandy Fried applying horsehair at the kiln

Doris Betuel

There are many skills and methods involved in making pottery pots, bowls, plates, and figurines. Using horse hair is one unique method when creating pottery. Native American horse hair pottery was made famous by the Navajo Indians and is a traditional style of pottery that is unique and very popular in the four corners area of the Navajo Nation, as well as the Pueblos of New Mexico. Popular for centuries, it is said to have been discovered by a woman pulling hot pottery out of a kiln. According to a story that has been passed down, a piece of her own hair dropped onto one of the pots, leaving a thin, dark line. Today, horse hair is used in the same way.

Recently, the Robson Ranch Ceramics and Pottery Club was treated to a demonstration of this special technique by Grant and Sherrill Simmons. To create each unique piece, horse hairs were laid upon the extremely hot surface as pottery was taken out of a hot kiln, creating lines as the hair was burned and leaving localized carbon lines upon the surface of the pottery. The results were amazing and each piece was a one-of-a-kind work of art!

While this method is not available in our club, you can learn many other techniques and skills to create other special and fun projects for you and your friends and family. If you would like to get started, please email Lisa Workman at [email protected] for further information or to sign up for the next orientation class.