Horsehair pottery, like raku, is intended for decorative use. Because it is not glazed, it will not hold liquids and it’s not considered “food safe.”
You can, of course, use a horsehair bowl for utilitarian purposed, like holding loose change or dried flowers.
How Horsehair Pottery is Made
|Soft clay is formed into bowls by throwing on a potter’s wheel. The bowls are then allowed to dry.
The pots are sometimes burnished at this stage with a smooth stone to create a polished surface.
|Next, the pots are fired in a kiln, to a temperature of approximately 1800° Fahrenheit, and allowed to cool. This produces a hard, durable form called bisqueware. (Note that some potters skip this step, and place the unfired pots directly in the raku kiln, below.)
|The pots are fired in raku kiln, again to temperatures in the 1800° range. The kiln is opened while the pots are glowing hot.
|Wearing protective clothing and using long tongs, the potter removes a pot from the kiln and places it on a pre-heated brick.
|Working very carefully, because the pot is extremely hot, the potter lays individual strands of hair from a horse’s tail onto the pot.
|The hair crinkles and burns, and the carbon is “trapped” into the still-hot clay, forming intricate patterns.
|Once the pot is cool, it is scrubbed clean to remove the ash from the horsehair, and given a protective coating of wax or lacquer.