The Makings of a Pot (Kalabougou, Mali, Pottery, People, Cultures)

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In the village of Kalabougou near Segou, Mali, women of the numu blacksmiths population have worked for centuries as traditional potters.  A 7-day fabrication cycle leads to the weekly Saturday afternoon firing of the kilns, in which large stacks of pots are covered with grass and set on fire.  Here, women remove their pots from the simmering stacks using hooks attached to the ends of long wood poles.  The pots are immediately dipped into a water-berry mixture that hardens it and gives a reddish color.