Book: Mud Puzzles


Downloadable e-book: Mud Puzzles: How Making Replica Pottery Led Me to a Better Understanding of the Ancient Southwest, by Andy Ward

The author set out to learn how to recreate ancient pottery while just a kid. Now, over thirty years later, he explains what this quest has taught him. Besides learning the secrets of how to make Salado Polychrome pottery like that made in Arizona over 700 years ago, he has come to some interesting conclusions about what people were up to in those days. Is this beautiful pottery related to the reason this region was abandoned before the first Europeans arrived here in the 1500s?


This downloadable e-book is not a pottery making manual. Rather it tells the story of how the author from an early age investigated the mystery of the people who had lived near his home in Arizona but mysteriously moved away in the 1400s leaving behind beautiful pottery and ruins. Andy Ward creates replicas of the ancient pottery found in southeast Arizona, this book follows his journey as he learns how to make replica pottery and uncovers the answers to where these ancient farmers and artists went over 500 years ago.

From the time I first started making pottery, my goal was always to make the type of pottery archaeologists call “Salado Polychrome” because I wanted a collection of pots like those I had seen at the ranch when I was a kid. So, although I eventually figured out how to make red on brown and other types of pottery, I was not satisfied as long as Salado Polychromes remained elusive. It was a true mystery and I was thoroughly absorbed by it. Over the years the unsolved mystery of Salado Polychromes drove me to continue to make progress, to find new clays and pigments, to explore new firing methods, to learn more, to improve my knowledge and understanding of the art form of traditional Southwest pottery. The more I learned about this style of pottery, the more I realized that this type of pottery was really different, requiring materials that were just not readily available in southeast Arizona where it was made. This was truly a riddle wrapped up in an enigma.

82 pages, 31 full color photos and 6 maps.


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