Pottery

Cherokee pottery was traditionally designed for function as well as for beauty. Pottery jugs, bowls, cooking pots, storage jars, and other types of dishes were used for storing and serving food.

Like most Native American tribes, the Cherokee did not use pottery wheels or spinning instruments, but made coil and pinch pots by hand. Artists decorated their pottery by pressing smooth stones, wood or bone paddles, and other hand tools into the wet clay to incise designs. Clay was often fired with softwoods such as poplar, the thick smoke of which imbued the clay with a dark, black hue.

Contemporary Cherokee potters combine ancient methods with a variety of modern techniques and designs in the creation of their pottery, which today is prized as art rather than for its daily use.