Colonial America (1492-1765)
Everyday Crafts

Everyday Crafts
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     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.71

     challenging words:    craft-making, porous, redware, wood-burning, occupation, repaired, colonial, commercially-made, meaning, colonist, resourceful, skilled, flax, natural, readily, valuable

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Everyday Crafts
By Sharon Fabian

1     Crafts made in the colonies had a few things in common. They were made from materials readily available in the area. They were also made when the colonists had time to spare from their main occupation of raising food.
2     Many colonial farmers took on additional tasks during the seasons when they were less busy with their farm chores. Some colonial men became potters, making useful pottery items from local clay. Others learned to make leather or tin crafts. Colonial women became experts in fabric crafts - spinning, weaving, dyeing, and sewing. Women passed down their craft-making skills to their daughters, and men passed down their skills to their sons.
3     Colonial potters often made redware, a kind of pottery made from readily available clay. Redware was porous, meaning that it did not hold water, but a glaze applied to the pottery often took care of that problem. Redware clay was not always red when it was dug from the earth, but when fired, it turned red, orange, or a reddish brown. Potters fired their wares in a wood-burning kiln, since wood was also easy to obtain in the areas where colonists settled. Potters made useful items including jars and jugs. They also made pans, plates, bowls, and chamber pots.

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