Dina Agonoy - San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Aida & Estrella Batangan - San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Gloria Bumanglag - San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Catalina Guira - San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Filomena Salcedo - San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Josefina Duldulao - San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

The tradition of earthenware-making or pottery in the Philippines goes as far back as the Neolithic Age (approximately 6,000 BC). Easily accessible, clay has been one of the first materials to be used in craft-making. Methods are classified into three: the paddle-and anvil technique, free-hand modeling, and production using a potter’s wheel. The paddle-and-anvil method uses a paddle to smoothen the outer surface while a smooth stone anvil is held against the inner wall. Free-hand modeling shapes the pot into the desired form using the bare hands. The potter’s wheel, never used in prehistoric times in the Philippines, was preceded by a manually turned platform where the vessel being fashioned is rotated. Firing is carried out on an open field or, in some cases, in kilns.

As form follows function, creativity yields a variety of shapes. The Metal Age has been noted for the most elaborately-shaped and ornamented pottery finds locally. Presently, pottery-making is an extant practice. Pottery production sites, both traditional and contemporary, may be found in provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Traditional earthenware or terracotta pieces have been known to serve ritual, utilitarian, and domestic purposes. Ritual pieces are distinguished from those of domestic use by its form, as well as ornamentation. Ritual pottery usually bears more intricate ornamentation. Surface treatments may be applied either before or after firing. These come in various methods such as polishing, slipping, incising, engraving, appliqué work, carving, painting, molding, and impression. Vessels may be further ornamented by painting red or black hematite prior to firing, using a free hand, or on areas defined by incisions.