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

Burkina Faso; Bwa artist. Women firing pottery. Photo by Christopher D. Roy.

The pots can be fired on a cleared space just outside the family home, without a kiln of any kind, let alone an expensive gas-fired or electric kiln. Only fuels that are gathered in the nearby countryside are used, and so the costs are low, productivity is high, and the products are useful. This is truly “appropriate technology,” that is, technology that does not strain the resources of the artist. Here, women from the Konaté family of blacksmiths in the village of Ouri, in central Burkina Faso, have fired their pottery on the morning of market day and are splashing a thick liquid rich in vegetable material on the outside of the red-hot pots to darken them and make them waterproof.