Smoke on the
Discovering the Secrets of Mayan Potters
Free demonstration/lecture by "Wolf" Milavec
College; Bldg #13; Room 307
19 Oct 2004, 5:30-7:00 p.m. & 20 Oct 2004, 9:00-10:30 a.m.
My modest objective was to discover
how pottery was routinely made by Mayan potters for two thousand years without
a potter's wheel or modern kiln. Ever since Cortez subjected and decimated
the Mayan peoples in the sixteenth century, Spanish porcelain has been used
and fashioned by the colonizers. No one seemed to know, however, where the
traditional Mayan potters were at work . . . . Slowly but surely, I discovered
their remote villages, out there beyond the ends of the bus lines, where the
smoke from the wood kilns hung on the mountains. The methods used staggered
my imagination. Using simple ready-made tools--hands, feet, water-soaked rags,
volcanic rocks, kiln-fired forms, and adobe-brick--these potters replicated
the masterful arts passed on to them by their ancestors. It is this ancient
art that I intend to document, to duplicate, and to honor.
(See details at www.didache.info.)
After breakfast, Juan prepares 100 pounds of moist clay from dry powder. He mixes the fibers of ten cattails into the clay. Then he kneads the total into five twenty pound "loaves."
|Then he uses his foot to compress and expand each "loaf" into a thick "pizza." His toes remain on the outside as he spins around the "pizza" forcing the clay to the outside.|