"Beaker Folk" potter Bill Crumbleholme makes replicas of Bronze Age beakers and urns, here is his story.
Click on the images if you want to see a larger version.
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This series of photos shows how I construct a replica Bronze Age Beaker, using a simple pinching technique.
I use a heavily grogged earthenware clay, which is cut in two pieces and made into “thumb pots”.
One is the base and the other, with no bottom, is the top.
I pinch out the shapes and leave them to stiffen.
The top has a groove pushed around the lower edge, with flaps that fit
over the base piece on the inside and outside, this helps me to locate
the pieces together and forms a strong “tongued and grooved” joint.
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After I join the sections, I thin the pot further and refine the shape by more squeezing and scraping.
I leave it to dry and stiffen a bit more, then wipe the surface with
clay slip using my father's shaving brush to make a smoother surface.
then impress the decoration motifs around the beaker, usually using a
wooden comb to make multiple rows of dots in a variety of herring-bone
Sometimes I use a cord or rope to make circular spirals.
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After the pot has dried I fire it in an open bonfire, together with more pots, such as urns, made the same way.
The initial stage of firing is a slow roast, when the water is driven off over several hours of my careful tending.
I place the pots in a ring, with fire on the inside and outside to promote even heating.
dried out I then pile more timber right over the pots and get a good
old blaze going for about half an hour. The temperature should reach
850C and the pots turn ceramic.
I get quite a few breakages, but some great successes.
More details can be seen on my website at www.beakerfolk.co.uk
The PDF file below can be downloaded if you wish to print this information out (The images are a bit low resolution).