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Natural Clay Pottery Course 2021 – Participants Page

Welcome! The Museum of Ontario Archaeology, in partnership with FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association and The London Clay Art Center, is excited to offer our virtual Natural Clay Pottery Course anew in 2021!


Ellen T Hopkins

Owner/Artist at Marion’s Mud in Aiken SC

Cathy Hull

Looking for link for course.

Heather Hatch

Hi Cathy – I hope you were able to join us over zoom. I know the emails wound up in some people’s spam traps. The instructional video and Zoom Q&A for Session 1 are now uploaded on this page – you can find them in section 2 above.


Wonderful information. So glad it’s been recorded and uploaded, unfortunately I will miss the first 3 sessions live!

I have a question, we have an abundance of fresh water mussel shells that we’ve already collected but can find fairly easily on our own farm. I watched the YouTube video of how to prepare shell temper above, but am wondering if for a first-time potter (me, haha!) if it would be smarter to just stick to silica sand? The video makes the shell firing look fairly simple, and I love the idea of making the pot entirely from local, found “ingredients”.

Heather Hatch

Hi Amy, I put your question to our instructors and this is what Richard said:

I’ve had some experience firing shell tempered pottery.
to make it work and not have spalling requires a special kind of firing all together.
Basically I fire at night, so when the pots just begin to glow red they are taken out of the fire.
they are finished! If you leave them in a long open firing the kind i normally do, it will be a disaster.
If the shell particles fire all the way through from inside to outside the pot, it will likely spall.
the entire pot might disintegrate, or one side of it that got overfired..
It might be one reason why over firing accidents are not found in the archaeological record.
the sherds disappear by disintegration.

The beauty of shell temper is that mussel shell when baked, and added to the clay creates flakes like mica.
the flakes make a wonderful temper for stretching and thinning your pottery.


Hi Heather, can you please post the date for the next sessions so I can get it in my calendar. Tx


Nvm, I passed right by it..tx 🙂

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