11.5cm top diameter x 14cm deep
This pot is hand thrown, burnished, coated in terrasigillata ( a superfine slip), polished, bisque fired and then pit fired to achieve this effect of blackened and coloured areas with graphic markings that look as if they have been drawn with charcoal. All this is painted and drawn by the fire alone, and is unique. Everyone sees something different in the markings and they can sometimes bear a ressemblance to ancient cave paintings.
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 pit fired medium pot
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!