Clay Porcupine Pot

Sandy L. Miller from Painesville, Ohio, has discovered numerous ways to weave her basketmaking foundation into sophisticated mixed-media vessels like her porcupine pot.

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Materials and Tools:

stoneware clay
waxed linen
wooden and silver seed beads
water bucket
large tub
fabric dye


1. Prepare desired amount of stoneware clay and throw vessel on a potter's wheel. Shape clay into desired pot size.

2. Allow the vessel to become leather hard (overnight).

3. The next morning, trim the vessel and drill holes in the collar. You MUST drill an even number of holes in each row. Drill five rows for a total of approximately 334 holes.

4. Allow vessel to dry for a day or two, then fire to bisque in a kiln to 1800 F degrees.

5. Remove the vessel from the kiln and glaze. Make sure no glaze has filled the holes.

6. Re-fire to 2262 F degrees. This is called the glaze fire.

7. After vessel is fired, dye your reeds: Fill a large tub with 3 gallons of hot tap water. Add a jar of dye (.8 oz). For each gallon of water, add one-third cup of white vinegar. Stir to dissolve.

8. Add 1 pound of reed. Keep the reed submerged with an old gallon milk jug filled with warm water. Check the color after 5 to 10 minutes. When your desired color is achieved, rinse in cold water to set the dye.

9. Cut the reeds to the desired length, 6 to 8 inches. Start weaving on the bottom row. Take one reed and bend in half, fitting each end through one hole. The bent portion will end up snug to the interior wall of the pot.

10. Leaving the top row free, start to weave the waxed linen around the rim. Use five times the diameter of the pot to get the length of waxed linen you will need.

11. Thread the waxed linen through one of the top holes. Loop stitch all the way around the pot until you come back to where you started. Lock the end with a clothespin.

12. With the free end of the waxed linen, thread one wooden bead and one silver seed bead. Thread back through the wooden bead; the seed bead locks the stitch. Continue all the way around the pot.

13. On the last bead, both ends of the waxed linen will come through the wooden bead and the silver seed bead. Tie the two ends with a square knot (over, under, over, under) and dab with a tiny bit of glue (any glue will do).

14. Finish weaving the reed in the top row.

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