B is for Bowl – The Handmade Alphabet

B is for Bowl – The Handmade Alphabet
03/17/2019 Rachel
Oldest pottery in the world - National Museum of China

Oldest pottery in the world – National Museum of China

In 2012, archaeologists found the oldest pottery fragments in the world, from over 20,000 years ago! This shook up scholars because they were much older than any other fragments found and changed how academics thought about how we developed as humans. The fragments were found in Southern China at the Xianren Cave. See photos of the cave here.

“The findings, which appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in east Asia to more than 15,000 years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gatherers to farmers.”  The Guardian

As a comparison, the oldest textile remnants ever found are from 6,200 years ago, in Peru.  That’s a huge difference in time, over 13,000 years with no real history of the evolution of textiles. And, this is the wonder of ceramics! Coming from earth, yet lasting so many years, bringing us stories from the far reaching past. Not surprising, this old piece belonged to a bowl, a vessel, a pot. Think about all of the many uses we have for our bowls! In the same way, humans quickly found a way to create these containers which could hold liquid, withstand heat, store food and serve so many purposes.

Function was not enough. In time, the surfaces of bowls and other pottery served as a decorative surface. Simple shapes evolved into more ornate or figurative beings. They could represent meaningful symbols, record stories or just simply be beautiful.  CulturalPatina has an excellent collection of pottery from the American SouthWest and Latin America. See their bowls here. Dennis has excellent documentation on his listings about provenance and history, so be sure to look for that when exploring his shop. The bowl below is a traditional Hopi bowl and the designs do have symbolic meaning. This one was coil built and then burnished with a smooth stone or spoon.

Click on the images to visit the sites.

 

CulturalPatina - Native American Hopi Poly Chrome Pottery Bowl, by Beth Sakeya, Ca 1970's

CulturalPatina – Native American Hopi Poly Chrome Pottery Bowl, by Beth Sakeya, Ca 1970’s

 

The Hot Moon Collection also carries vintage and antique and this bowl is from the Philippines from the 1800’s.  It looks like it was coil built and burnished with a stone, too.

 

Ifugao Duyu Rice Wine Bowl, Philippines 19th C from Hot Moon Collection

Ifugao Duyu Rice Wine Bowl, Philippines 19th C from Hot Moon Collection

 

Turkish Folk Art has a great selection of clay, metal and wood bowls from areas around Turkey.  Click here to see them.  This one from the Anatolia region, an area that has produced ceramics since the Trojan days.

 

ANATOLIA – GALLIPOLI - TROY – Canakkale ceramic glazed bowl

ANATOLIA – GALLIPOLI – TROY – Canakkale ceramic glazed bowl from Turkish Folk Art

 

The image at the top of this post is also from Turkish Folk Art. It is a talismanic Persian bowl from the 1800’s, covered with verses from the Koran.

See the listing here. The bowl is made of copper and had been tinned (the silver coloring), most of which has worn off.

Jump over a few mountains and go land in Tajikistan where HoonArts works with talented crafters. These two bowls are actually teacups, but you could use them for anything.  The story:

“Master Sukhrob, based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, has created a unique style of small ceramics forms that is a fusion of the ancient Persian and ancient Chinese ceramic styles. He works in a small studio at his home, passing his craft onto his sons. Master Sukhrob’s designs have received the UNESCO Award of Excellence and been exhibited at international fairs and exhibitions.”

 

Tea Cups Handcrafted by Tajik Master Ceramics Artist Sukhrob Saidov - HoonArts

Tea Cups Handcrafted by Tajik Master Ceramics Artist Sukhrob Saidov – HoonArts

 

Contemporary Ceramics

Our artists use a variety of techniques, with most throwing on the wheel and then decorating with underglazes and a clear overcoat in a second firing. Sue of Botanic2Ceramic uses some interesting flowing glaze finishes on her bowls. This one is rather subtle, but I love the textures and irregularities.

 

Botanic2Ceramic High Fire Porcelain Bowl with Fruit

Botanic2Ceramic High Fire Porcelain Bowl with Fruit

See all of her bowls here.

 

The next ones use majolica or underglazes, achieving very different effects. Clicking on the images will take you to the bowls in their shops.

 

Medium Pottery Serving Bowl with Red Mandala Lotus Design – Handmade Majolica by Clay Lick Creek Pottery

 

Majolica ceramic peacock - oval bowl original design - hand made pottery dish - decorative bowl made from red earthenware by Majoleeka

Majolica ceramic peacock – oval bowl original design – hand made pottery dish – decorative bowl made from red earthenware by Majoleeka

 

MiMo Bright Colored Curvy Ceramic Bowl by PamDesign

MiMo Bright Colored Curvy Ceramic Bowl by PamDesign

 

Porcelain Dish with Handmade Bird Flowers by Kiln House Pottery

 

Sarah Bak Pottery - Red flower serving bowl

Sarah Bak Pottery – Red flower serving bowl

 

Colectivo 1050º Ana medium bowl from the Lineo collection. From Sprout Enterprise.

Colectivo 1050º Ana medium bowl from the Lineo collection. From Sprout Enterprise.

 

Other Materials

 

We can imagine that even though materials like cloth, straw, wood and other fibers didn’t survive over time, humans used whatever they could find or make to create containers and bowls. Even a large leaf can serve to hold water or food! The bowl is the one object that any group would find a way to create, even with the most basic tools.

Bryan of Nelsonwood is our amazing, prolific wood turner. At the time of his posting, he had 120 bowls listed in his shop on Etsy. Most are functional, but some are purely ornamental.

 

Texas Mesquite Wood Bowl Wood Art WAR HORSE by Nelsonwood

Texas Mesquite Wood Bowl Wood Art WAR HORSE by Nelsonwood

 

Lin Bentley Keeling is inspired by music in her basketry designs. Her shop is on Artizan Made.

 

Pacifica - Contemporary basketry by Lin Bentley Keeling

Pacifica – Contemporary basketry by Lin Bentley Keeling

 

Glass is another ancient material. Jeffrey Elliott blows his glass while Marie Stalnecker fuses hers.

 

Elliott Glass Art Hand Blown Bowl, pink swirls

Elliott Glass Art Hand Blown Bowl, pink swirls

 

Marie's Glass Works - Fused Reds, Veronica

Marie’s Glass Works – Fused Reds, Veronica

 

All of these bowls are so special! Do explore the shops and remember them when you need a wedding gift or when you want to treat yourself!

 

More Bowls from our Market

This is a small random selection of our bowls that are listed. To see them all go here.

Comments (2)

  1. Karen 3 months ago

    Nicely written article, Rachel. Enjoying these and thanks for the mention .

  2. majoleeka 3 months ago

    What a fabulous article. We have such a diverse group of makers too.
    Thank you for the mention.

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