Finished and dried clay pottery jars are carefully placed on top of firewood in preparation for firing. Previously fired broken or flawed pots are used to bank the fuel, keeping it in place. Additional fuel will be placed on top of the stacked pottery and the fuel set on fire. The resulting bonfire will be allowed to burn down, after which the pots will be removed and finished while hot by being dipped in a bark solution. Mensah Listowell, Research Assistant (blue shirt), stands by as the potters prepare to place more fuel on the stacked pottery. Bondakile, October, 1982.
Dried clay jars are carefully placed on top of firewood in preparation for firing. Their surfaces have been textured by rolling a maize cob (bledjukaan in Nafaanra) over the jars' lower surface (maize cob roulette) and decorated with shallow arched grooves made when the pot was in a leather-hard state. Additional fuel will be placed on top of the stacked pottery before the fire is lit. After the fire has burned down the pots will be removed and finished by being dipped while hot in a bark solution. Bondakile, October, 1982.
Clay pottery jars cool and dry after having been fired and dipped in a finishing bark solution. Once fully cooled, the jars will be stacked and stored before being sent to markets around the area. Jars like these (sro chͻ in Nafaanra) are used to prepare food, for example boiling yams and other tubers. To the right rear, wood is stored on a raised platform, awaiting use in cooking hearths. Bondakile, October, 1982.
This short video made from still photographic images illustrates the firing techniques of Banda-area potters. It shows examples of bonfire firing and post-firing treatment of vessels in a solution of pounded bark. Images include a 1982 sequence following Mo potters in Bondakile and 1994 images of Nafana potters in Adadiem and Dorbour, featuring Afua Donkor and Yaa Nsiah Adiemu from the latter. Original images used to make the video are available in the Banda Through Time Repository. Bondakile, 1982. Adadiem, Dorbour, 1994. Length: 4.22 minutes.