Horsehair Pottery has caught the fascination of the art world in recent times. But the art itself dates back to centuries. Though the exact origin of the art is not known, it is widely used by the Navajo Indians in the Navajo Indian reservation. Horsehair pottery is a handcrafted art of creating unique, one of a kind design on pottery which cannot be replicated. The trick is to use horsehair to create myriad designs on clay pots as soon as they are out of the kiln. Horsehair pottery can be a very interesting hobby which can be fun and satisfying.
Horsehair Pottery is a Native American art form that was discovered in 1980 by sheer accident. Folklore has it that a Pueblo potter woman discovered this art form when her long hair accidentally blew and made an impression on the hot piece of pottery she was removing from the kiln. She was fascinated by what she saw and decided to try this technique with many other things like straw, pine needles, feathers and finally horse hair. They found that the thicker and coarser horse hair left striking and clear impressions on the pot as compared to the finer human hair. Once they had mastered this technique they taught it to other potters in their community. Through the years this art form has seen a lot of variations and is equally followed by both Native and non-Native Americans.
Like any other art form, each artist has his or her own style of doing Horsehair Pottery. There are different ways to do horsehair pottery like the Wheel thrown, low fire clay, bisque fired to cone 010, burnished, fired with horsehair and sprayed with ferric chloride. The technique of firing horse hair in all these methods is the same but no two pots look the same as the designs are based on the flow of the horsehair on the pottery. In recent times, artifacts made through horsehair pottery are made more unique and interesting by decorating them with pieces of turquoise, etched or have a design painted on the horsehair pottery.
Be careful while using Ferric chloride as it produces toxic fumes when sprayed on hot pottery and is acidic in nature.