Category FAQs Search : Art, Culture and History of Sarawak, Malaysia

Question: The preparation of clay used in the making of Iban pottery:

Answer: Clay is plentiful in Sarawak but for this kind of pottery it has to be extremely well prepared.
After collecting the clay - usually from a river bank - it is dried in small lumps. These are then pounded to the consistency of powder in the large wooden mortar used at other times for husking padi. The powder is then put through a fine rotan sieve. The coarser parts remaining in the sieve are thrown away. The sieving process is sometimes repeated several times until the clay is almost as fine as flour. Into this clay powder, water is stirred little by little and kneaded in until water and clay form a consistent malleable mixture which is then pounded thoroughly for about 15 minutes either with a heavy pestle on a large flat boulder or in a big wooden trough. This will give the clay the right plasticity and remove all remove air bubbles which might otherwise cause breakage in the firing.

(Source: Iban Pottery: Sarawak Museum Occasional Paper No.5 , 06 Sep 2021)

Source Link: Pustaka Negeri Sarawak Book Collection