The Hermannsburg Potters iconic sculptured terracotta pots are made using the traditional hand-coil technique – the Potters do not use machines! In the early days, it was found that this was the most suitable method for working in this remote and challenging context.
Coils are carefully rolled from the clay, and the artists build up their pots slowly, pinching the rim of the pot, coil on coil. When the form is complete, the surface is smoothed and shaped with a wooden paddle, and then burnished with the back of a metal spoon. When the pots are bone-dry, they are decorated with under glazes (ceramic based material, or slips, with pigment). The pots are then fired to earthenware temperatures (1080 degrees Celsius).
This timeless and methodical pottery technique speaks to the tactile manipulation of earth and clay within Arrernte custom and tradition. The method is also informed by the external influences which shaped the visual culture of the Hermannsburg region.