By Victoria Rovine
University of Florida (formerly University of Iowa)

Burkina Faso; Bobo artist. Forming a jar. Photo by Christopher D. Roy.

The African potter is able to form large, strong, symmetrical, and very functional containers very quickly and very cheaply using molding and modeling techniques that require very few tools and no equipment. In Africa south of the Sahara, potters do not even use potter’s wheels, yet the pots they form and fire can be used for cooking over an open fire, for storing water, and for brewing millet and sorghum beer. Here a potter of the Bobo people in Burkina Faso forms a very large pot using the coiling technique. She works just outside her home, so that she can turn easily from cooking or caring for children to making pottery.