Clay pots, with materials dug out of the earth and hardened in open fires, were civilization’s first Tupperware. Sealed with wax or more clay, these containers held the food needed to survive harsh winters and the seed for next year’s harvest.
These pots were functional, not fancy. They did not use glazes, and the colors you see here come from tones within the clay itself.
Over time, our ancestors learned to use clay and straw to make bricks, and clay tiles provided a cleaner floor than dirt or rushes. Today, with the interesting mix of glazes and professional kilns to harden the clay by firing it, ceramic tile comes in virtually unlimited colors, sizes and designs. But many people still love the rustic tones and feel of unglazed tiles and pots, and they can help create a wonderful warm outdoor space.
Take a look at the patio on the right. The large unglazed clay tile shows varying hues and a rough surface. Made in rural Mexico, these tiles can chip and some even show the paw print from some small animal that ran over the tile before it dried.
Two types of unglazed pots add personality to this space. Toward the back, two classic plant pots in red clay hold a bush and red hibiscus plant. These containers are inexpensive and made to hold plants and keep them alive.
The other pots are much older – antique containers that require the rustic wooden base to stay upright. No longer useful as containers, their only purpose is as a sculptural reminder of the value of clay long before our civilization began.