Mud, Fingers, and Fire by Rachel Hoffman

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photos, travels

Women’s Work… In West Africa, women make pottery. They mine the mud, age it into clay, wedge it to align the particles, form the vessels, and fire them. After firing to ‘bisque’ temperature, water no longer dissolves clay. The vessel walls do remain permeable, though, and as the pot ‘sweats’ during the day, slow evaporation keeps the contents cool. Every village has potters, and every household owns a pot to hold drinking water.


  1. Mud bricks


2. Mud into clay


3. Forming a vessel


4. Firing time.


BIO: Rachel Hoffman‘s stories have appeared in recently in Immersion, 1966, *82 Review, Raw Art, and Hot Metal Bridge – the submission chosen for the journal’s creative non-fiction Social Justice Prize. A 2017 Fulbright granted Rachel a month’s residency at the Writers House in Ventspils, Latvia. Rachel’s debut novel, Packer and Jack, was published by a small press in 2014. She holds a PhD in art history and published one magazine cover a long time ago.

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Sarah Leamy, MFA, is an award-winning author of both travel books and novels as well as a photographer, presenter, and a bit of a wanderer. She has lived in England, Germany, Spain, Guatemala and the Southwest of the US. She is the founder and editor of Wanderlust, a travel journal publishing international travel writing, photos and trip reports. Find out more at

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