Kilnworks home »

The history of pottery and its cultural relevance

Pottery since the beginning of time

Since humans first walked the earth thousands of years ago, we have needed to transport, store and protect food and water. Through archaeology, we have unearthed remnants that have helped shape our understanding of human development. It is no surprise that among these historical relics we find pottery - jugs, vases, storage and carrying vessels - that are often cited as examples of our human advancement, evolution and sophistication.

Click on the thumbnail images to view a larger version:

History of Ceramics - Bronze age bowl circa 2500BC History of Ceramics - Bronze age amphora circa 1700BC History of Ceramics - British terracotta jug circa 1500BC History of Ceramics - Egyptian Ushabti figurine circa 1000BC History of Ceramics - Mesopotamian vase circa 700BC History of Ceramics - Roman amphora circa 600BC History of Ceramics - Greek column krater circa 400BC History of Ceramics - Celtic pottery bowl circa 400BC History of Ceramics - Islamic Mina'i bowl circa 1200AD History of Ceramics - Medieval Stoneware jugs circa 1400AD

Cultural sophistication

By using kilns to fashion utensils and figurines, we expanded our culture and social vocabulary. It was also this understanding of how 'firing' elements such as clay and sand; creating a stone-like substance, which laid down the foundations of Iron and Bronze age civilisation - forging base metals into objects such as jewellery further expanding our culture and trade sophistication.

A world without ceramics?

The kiln has always been a powerful force in human evolution

This continues to the modern world. Can you begin to imagine a world without pottery? Plates, serving dishes, jugs, vases, even butter dishes and toast racks - regardless of the material from which they are manufactured - owe a certain respect to the kiln.

What this means for kilnworks

It is these ritual and social aspects of dining and socialising, which has lead ultimately to the creation of Although I naturally take inspiration from a wider spectrum than the men and women who produced the earliest handmade pottery and ceramics, many of the same requirements are important to me - usability, suitability, functionality, choice of material and finish. I continually assess my work by these merits.