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Get the Dirt on Clay!

Clay served for centuries as an affordable and reliable material from which to make containers. Clay is a mineral whose particles are flat and plate-like. With just the right amount of water content, this shape allows the particles to slide over each other without breaking apart.

A pot that has simply been dried will break apart and become a shapeless mass again if it gets wet. But, when fired—heated at very high temperatures such as in a bonfire or kiln—the clay is transformed into a rock-like material. Fired pots are porous, which means air and water can pass through the walls of the pot but it will still retain its shape. However, applying a glaze—a thin coating of clay and pigment—to the pot before firing will make it watertight.

Fired pot Glazed pot
Fired pot


Glazed pot


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Pottery courtesy of Radcliffe Ceramics Studio

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