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Horse Hair How To

I've been having some fun creating pots that are decorated with horse hair.  My customers are always seeing the pots and asking how I made them so I thought I'd share the process.
The first thing I do is create the pot...but you knew that.  Then when it's bone dry I brush on some Terra Sigillata and burnish it with a plastic bag.  You don't want to put the terra sig on very heavy or it may chip off.  Just a few light coats, burnished in between coats, will do.  White terra sig gives the highest sheen, adding colors via stains dulls the finish a little but you can still get a nice shine.  The pot is then fired to cone 04.
After the bisque firing I heat the pot in a raku kiln.  The pot can be fired to only 1100 degrees but since I normally fire with other people who are using raku glazes my pots tend to be heated to about 1800 degrees.  This makes the pot a little bit stronger but it also allows more possibility for thermal shock to break the pot.
I use Highwater's Phoenix clay to avoid thermal shock, Charlie Riggs likes Highwater's Moonwhite, and other people use raku clay.  Experiment to see what gives you the results you want.
Finally, here's a video of me laying the horse hair onto the hot pot to create the lines I desire.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery


  1. What a great video, with all the horse farms around here maybe I can some to try; otherwise I'll to to the hairdresser and see if I can get some long human hair. What does the torch do?

  2. Hi Linda,
    I'm sure a someone with horses will let you sweep a stall. The torch helps burn the hair onto the pot.


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