Horsehair (and Pet hair) pottery starts with white clay that is hand thrown on the wheel into a vase or lidded urn. We also create handcrafted clay jewelry, tiles, and ornaments.
After it dries hard, an ancient process (developed by the Greeks and Romans) called Terra sigillata is used. This consists of applying liquid clay to the surface, then it’s polished to a sheen. This was used in lieu of glaze to make the surface shiny. Then the piece is bisque fired to 1600 degrees. This leaves the fired clay porous, so it absorbs the carbon and smoke from the horse and pet hair. Next, the clay piece is warmed up in the kiln to about 1000 degrees. While hot, strands of hair are laid against the clay surface. The hair randomly attaches to the surface, and begins to wiggle and dance. This is where we get our name, “Dancing Fire Pottery.”
Depending on the thickness of the hair, a deposit of carbon and smoke is absorbed into the clay surface, leaving permanent markings. When the temperature falls, the clay will no longer accept the hair, and the process is over. Then the ashes are whipped away and the piece is waxed to a soft luster.
Horsehair pottery is decorative artwork, and not able to hold water, unless it is sealed with Thompson Water Seal first. (We can add this treatment for a small charge.) When finished, we mail you a touchstone that connects you with your love for your horse or pet. You can celebrate your pet while living, and you can commemorate them after they have transitioned.
Place this pottery anywhere you want to be reminded of your beloved. Many of our customers get several pieces for gift giving aw well. One customer got four jewelry boxes, one for each person that loved and road the horse. We are also happy carve the name of your horse on the bottom of the clay piece. For our necklaces, we have room to place an initial on the back.
The color of the hair doesn’t change the process. Whether your horse is blond or dark, the tracings on the clay will look the same. The thickness of the hair is what makes the difference.
We ask for 20 mane and 20 tail hairs to get the thicker and thinner lines, but any hair will work to make something beautiful. For dogs and cats and other furry pets, we ask that you mail us about 2 tablespoons.