12cm top diameter x 11.5cm deep highest point, 8cm lowest point
This unusual shaped pot is wheel thrown and then carved into a new irregular shaped rim. The pot was burnished, coated in terrasigillata, a superfine slip, before bisque firing then pit firing. There are some quite vibrant colours and unusual graphic markings on the surface and it is possible to see all sorts of images within them.
Pit firing is a high risk ancient technique where a previously bisque fired pot is placed in a pit or barrel with various natural additions like banana peel, moss, salt and copper wire, and a bonfire is then lit on top of the pots, left to burn and then covered when the flames have died down. The pots are removed when cool and cleaned up to reveal (hopefully!) many different colours and markings ingrained on the surface. The breakage rate is high and there is no way of knowing what will emerge from the fire. This is the joy of pit firing and every pot is unique - it would be impossible to replicate any marking or colour, and there will never be another pot identical to this one!
Wheel thrown modified pit fired vessel
Pit fired pottery is not deemed to be food safe and is not waterproof, as the clay does not get hot enough in the pit firing to vitrify, remaining porous. There is a coating of food safe natural wax (Osmo hard liquid wax) on the surface which affords some protection and water resistance, and bowls can be used for some dry food and nuts etc. Sometimes it can prove to be waterproof but this is not guaranteed and use as a vase or other water containing vessel is not recommended unless thoroughly tested first. The wax may need reapplying from time to time, especially if the pot is being used and washed. Gentle handwashing is advised however if the pot is coated in terrasigillata, as this one is, a gentle wipe with a soft cloth or a little wax polish is recommended instead as the surface is easily scratched or damaged. Not dishwasher safe!