The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cane baskets and pit-fired pottery

Splitting river cane to make cane for basket-making.We also learned about two other intriguing Native American crafts at the Moundville festival --- cane baskets and pit-fired pottery.  The lady on the right is splitting a piece of river cane (a native bamboo) in half, then in half again.  Next, she will shave the top off each quarter to make a strong, slender cane perfect for basket-weaving.

River cane used to be ubiquitous throughout the South, and Native Americans put it to good use, turning the canes into baskets, spears, shelters, and much more.  I was inspired by the demonstration to work harder at planting our own mini cane brake where the power line cut creates an opening in our floodplain forest.
Pit-firing pottery.Crowds of school children pushed us onward, past the basket-weaver to the pit-fired pottery demonstration.  I took pottery classes in high school and college and loved the feel of mud on my hands, but always found the kiln infrastructure too daunting to try on my own.  Native Americans, of course, used simpler techniques than electric kilns.  Instead, they dug shallow pits about a foot deep, placed pots on a mound in the center, and built a fire around the edges.  The fire starts small, but is slowly allowed to engulf the pots over the course of five to six hours, turning the pots first black then back to clay color.  Again, I resolved to try to mine a bit of the clay along our creekbank and give pit-firing a shot.

This post is part of our Moundville and Cruise to Mexico honeymoon series.  Read all of the entries:

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.