A young boy stands at the base of the clay pit where potters from Bondakile mine the clay they use for making pottery. Soils from upper and lower levels are mixed together to make a workable potting clay. Children help relatives who are potters to dig and process the clay. Two photos. Bondakile, October, 1982.
This short Banda Heritage video made from still photographic images illustrates the potting techniques of Banda-area potters. It highlights the steps in their draw-and-drag forming method and the tools they use. Among the Nafana potters pictured in the video are Yaa Tenabrɛ, Adwoa Fodjoa, Peni Krah and Ama Donkor from Dorbour. Also pictured is a potter from Adadiem (1994) and an image from Bondakile (1982). Original images used to make the video are available in the Banda Heritage Repository. Dorbour, Adadiem, 1994. Bondakile 1982. Length: 5.05 minutes.
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.
Unfinished clay grinding bowls dry on the palettes (kpankpa in Nafaanra) on which they were formed. After they have dried to a leather-hard state, the potter will remove them from their palettes and score their interiors. The scoring creates a grinding surface used to process vegetables which are added to soups. These bowls may also serve as men's eating bowls (pԑԑ in Nafaanra). Immediately behind the drying bowls is a hearth, swept clean of ashes. Pottery jars can be seen drying in background, right. A chicken forages nearby. Bondakile, October, 1982.
A toddler girl wearing a protective strand of beads sits beside finished clay grinding bowls that have been set aside to continue drying before firing. The scoring on the interior of the bowl provides a rough surface against which cooked vegetables can be ground into a paste before being added to a soup. These bowls may also serve as men's eating bowls (pԑԑ in Nafaanra). Bondakile, October, 1982.
Sheep feed on the edges of a bonfire where clay jars are being fired. Grass has been laid as fuel over the carefully stacked pottery. Wood fuel lies beneath. At the bonfire's base, the broken pots used to bank the fire are visible. The fire will be allowed to burn down, after which the jars will be removed and, while still hot, dipped in a bark solution that coats the pot with a finish. Bondakile, October, 1982.
These partially formed clay jars (chͻ in Nafaanra) are drying, resting on the palette (kpankpa in Nafaanra) on which they were formed. Once dried to a leather-hard state, the potter removes them from the plate and, using fresh moist clay, adds a rounded base to the jar. To the left, a metal cooking vessel rests nearby. Bondakile, October, 1982.
A standing potter molds the body of a clay jar using a draw-and-drag (direct pull) technique. Beginning with a lump of moist clay, she draws the clay upward and outward from the center as she moves clockwise around the stump that holds the movable palette (kpankpa in Nafaanra) on which the jar is being formed. The fingermarks left as she pulls and thins the clay will be smoothed over as she continues to shape the jar. Bondakile, October, 1982.
A standing potter molds the body of a clay jar using a draw-and-drag (direct pull) technique. Beginning with a lump of moist clay, she has drawn the clay upward and outward with her hands. Here she begins to shape the form of the jar's neck and outward-flaring rim. As she works, she moves backwards around the stump that supports the palette (kpankpa in Nafaanra) on which the jar is being formed. Bondakile, October, 1982.