Along the roadsides in Ghana I have for many years admired the giant heavy pots used to display plants. So, during a road trip decided to do a pit stop to witness the procedure of pot making in Vume. It is alleged that pottery has been in the town of Vume for over 300 years, adapted from the people who migrated from the Denkyra area.
Vume is a town in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region alongside the Volta river. We boarded a Sogapoke trotro from Madina station from Accra which took about 1hr 45mins.
Clay preparation – Vume town is blessed with ample of clay deposits. We visited a pottery workshop close to the roadside and were presented with the procedures. The workers buy prepared raw clay to store at their workshop. A ‘pegging mill’ is used to bind and press the clay together, which is then kneaded by hand ready for the next stage.
Making pots – They use different tools/utensils to roll, cut, shape and beat clay pieces depending on type of pot making. They are so skillful they can judge the measurements even without a ruler. The rolling pin has been engraved to print designs onto the clay.
The prepared pieces are dried for up to 3 days and edges trimmed depending on use. Small amounts of wet clay is used as glue around the edges to join the sides together to form a square pot. The prepared pots are then stored for up to 2-3 months to dry properly. The workers can make up to 50-100 pieces a day.
Furnace stage – Pots are then stacked inside the kiln where a fire is lighted at the back of the kiln for 4 days. The pots will turn to a terracotta colour which shows they are well done.
The round pots are mainly handmade by women.
Potters wheel or manual- There was another section, but the potter was not around to show us. One person will turn a bar that makes the wheel spin, whilst the other person moulds the clay into a pot. Each pot can take up to 5mins to prepare. Thereafter the same process of drying then placed in the kiln is followed.
On completion the pots are painted or left in a natural state for sale. There was a bus loaded with pots heading towards Accra. They have customers mainly from Accra and even Nigeria.
Clay is used mainly for pots and household ware. So, when making way back to the roadside, I saw a lady selling asanka bowls which I purchased one for 10 cedis.
The potters are so skillful and passionate about the works, that I am sure they can prepare with eyes closed.
Bless Sister E