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Horse Hair Pottery

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Horse Hair Pottery

Throughout the years, Horse Hair Pottery has continued to grow in popularity. To this day, it’s unclear exactly how this type of unique pottery originated. Some people believe the technique was first introduced by Native Americans because it has been so prevalent among Native American artists. Others believe it was the result of experimentation, or possibly it was an accident that occurred as an unconscious decision from an artist that was not Native American.

As its name implies, Horse Hair Pottery is hand coiled pottery that incorporates horse hair from horses’ tails or manes into its design. To create horse hair pottery, an artist applies strands of hair to the surface of a clay pot, which has been removed from the kiln, and is extremely hot. As the hair carbonizes, or turns into carbon as it burns on the hot surface of the pottery, it leaves a random pattern. Although other types of hair may be used, horse hair makes distinct dramatic patterns due to its length and coarseness. A horse’s tail hair is thicker than the mane hair; therefore, it leaves stronger bolder patterns unlike the finer mane hair used to produce softer subtle lines.

Currently, there are many Native American tribes that make Horse Hair Indian Pottery. To add more detail to some of these finished clay creations, artists may decorate them with pieces of turquoise, etch designs, or paint them.