Friday, June 15, 2012

New Handcrafted Horse Hair Pottery

 We have brand new styles of Horse Hair Pottery from our artist, Tom Vail, that are exclusively for Bowlin Travel Centers, Inc! Take a look at our new John Wayne piece featured here. This piece was just added to our pottery collection, and it already seems to be a hit! Mr. Vail goes through quite a process to make sure each piece he creates is unique and special (see pictures below). 

To create each beautiful piece, "slip "(liquid form of clay) is poured into the mold.  After allowing time to harden, Tom Vail removes the damp clay (which is now no longer in liquid form) from the mold.  Before baking the clay in the kiln, he makes it nice and smooth.  Upon removing the piece from the kiln, Mr. Vail immediately begins to apply horse hair.  The fine lines are created with the hair from the mane of the horse while the thick lines are created from the hair of the tail. Once all of the horse hair is applied, he allows the piece to cool.  After cooling, Tom Vail hand etches each piece.  If stones or turquoise are used to decorate the pottery, those are applied at this time.  Finally, the piece is varnished in order to protect it.  Every piece of horse hair pottery is original and made in New Mexico. 

Step 1: Pouring slip into mold
Step 2: Removing clay from mold

Step 3: Removing piece from the kiln

Step 4: Applying horse hair

Step 5: Etching

Step 6: Applying stones to piece

Step 7: Finished product


  1. is tom vail and tom vail jr. the same person

    1. The artist featured in our blog is Tom Vail Jr. He is the artist for all of our horse hair pottery. Some of his pottery is signed Tom Vail and some is signed Tom Vail Jr.