Primitive Pottery Workshop

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The making and production of pottery in the American Southwest begins in early agricultural settlements and spreads throughout the region rapidly. To this day decedents of prehistoric people still make pottery similar to what their ancestors crafted and relied upon for 1,200 years. In this extensive 2 day workshop join Jeff Martin from Primitive Lifeways where he will take you through the process of crafting pottery using Native clays identical to what prehistoric people used.


When and Where?

From August 14th - 15th starting at 10:00am We will craft our pottery under the cool ramadas at the Willow Lake pithouse sites at Willow Lake. We will first meet in the Parking lot at the Heritage Park Zoo. This zoo will come up on GPS when using Google or Apple Maps to navigate.



This two day workshop will cost $100.00 per person. If you are looking to attend just one day $50.00. Upon completion students will receive a free Primitive Lifeways logo sticker and certificate of completion.

What to Expect?

After taking this class you will have a clear and precise understanding on how to locate and and manipulate different clay types. Jeff will first discuss how to find clay in a dry desert environment by looking at geological features and landmarks. Once students understand what to look for, we will take clay samples and show how to process and test them for plasticity. After the clay is processed students will learn how to temper(add sand) the clay and mix it with an appropriate amount of water. Each student will then use the clay and various pottery making tools to craft their jar or bowl. During this crafting process, Jeff will guide each student through the entire process so they don't miss a single step. As always, we encourage students to ask questions throughout the workshop.

Primitive Lifeways

Will we Fire the Pots?

When each student finishes making their pot we recommend a slow drying process so cracks to not appear. Sometimes this drying time can last up to 1 month in time. Therefore in this workshop we will not be firing pottery. However, in the following month we will host a day workshop on firing all of the pots made by students in order to turn them into a ceramic.


What to Bring?

The Arizona desert is nothing to take for granted. Having spent over 30 years in a desert environment, Primitive Lifeways recommends you come prepared. As temperatures warm up we have the possibility of coming across rattlesnakes, bees, and wasps. If you are allergic to insect stings we recommend consulting your doctor before attending this gathering. Items to consider bringing include the following:

  • Knife
  • Lots of water (it will be warm)
  • Sack lunch
  • Medications
  • Sunblock
  • Rope
  • Good hiking boots
  • A pair of strapped sandals or water shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Cotton cloth (bandana or shemagh)
  • Old Cotton shirt