Pottery is the process by which an individual uses clay fired at high temperatures to create durable figures and vessels. These can be of any shape or size with varying functions.
Pottery has acted as a doorway into the past for us to learn about history and prehistory of mankind. The durability of the materials used for pottery have stood the test of time and carry the stories from past millennia, giving us a snapshot of how people lived and the general view of civilizations over time. Pottery plays such an important role in learning about the past that many archeological sites and ancient civilizations are recognized by the name of the pottery itself.
Heating the clay at different temperatures will give you a different final result, with the lowest temperatures giving you earthenware, mid-temperatures, resulting in stoneware and high temperatures for porcelain. Early civilizations used fire pits with low temperatures, so most ancient artifacts that are found are hand-shaped earthenware.
Earthenware was the earliest form of pottery from the Neolithic era and is still seen today. It is created at temperatures as low as 600˚C and can be made using a variety of different clays, including terracotta. Earthenware is mostly seen unglazed and usually undecorated.
Stoneware is fired at high temperatures in a kiln; temperatures can go up to 1200˚C. The results are a lot less porous than earthenware, meaning the finished product could be used to hold liquids and as tableware. This method was first seen in China, but carried through to Europe starting in Germany and making its way across the continent post the Renaissance.
Porcelain, which is also produced in kilns with temperatures of 1400˚C, was first discovered as part of the Tang Dynasty in China between the 7th and 8th century. This type of pottery was so popular that it was exported to all parts of the world until the 18th century when it was finally able to be produced outside of East Asia.
Pottery today is made with all sorts of materials, with a variety of tools and fired up at different temperatures. The uses of pottery, nowadays, range from elaborately-decorated pieces for homes to simple tableware.
Author: Amita Vadlamudi, https://amitavadlamudiblog.com
Origami is widely known throughout the world today. Most commonly used by people to make different animal sculptures by folding pieces of paper, origami is both a recreational activity as well as an art form. This art form said to have originated from ancient Japan, roughly a millennium or so ago. Some scholars debate that the art form originated back in the 6th Century AD, while others believe that it could be even older.
The term “Origami” derives from two Japanese words “Ori,” which means folded, and “Kami,” which means paper. Origami is an art form that incorporates the aspects of creativity, games, and mathematical puzzles into a single craft. In its art form, origami is able to attract a lot of people today. A simple activity, people are able to produce the most ingenious sculptures and designs by doing nothing more than intricately folding a piece of paper.
Several art and crafts forms involve the use of paper, but origami is a technique that stands out. The unique quality about origami is that you just need to use paper without the help of any other material to form sculptures.
Through a series of well-planned folds and creases, people can make anything from the simplest of animal sculptures to highly sophisticated structures. There is no cutting, gluing or any other technique involved.
Many people think origami has little more use than being a pastime for children, but this art form carries more weight than it is generally given credit for. Mathematicians, architects, medical professionals, computer programmers, and engineers are just some of the professionals at the top level who are able to take inspiration from origami in their fields.
Traveling from Japan to China, and then to the rest of the world over the centuries, the art of origami is now an internationally practiced craft. It is used as a pastime for children and adults alike. This art of paper-folding even extends from use as a leisure activity to use in various professional fields.
After retiring from computer technology job, Amita Vadlamudi now likes pursuing hobbies, fitness, reading and occasionally tweeting. The following is Amita Vadlamudi’s Twitter Page.
With the digital technology dominating contemporary times, pursuing crossword puzzles as a hobby may seem like a primitive activity, a relic left over from ancient times. But even in this computer dominated age doing crossword puzzles on the paper is a major hobby for many people – young and old alike. For many enthusiasts crossword puzzles are an integral part of their morning ritual. They are as welcoming as the morning light and as stimulating as the hot sip of freshly brewed coffee.
This seemingly old-school hobby is more relevant today than ever. Aside from simply keeping the people occupied, crossword puzzles have many healthful benefits such as stimulating minds, keeping the brains sharp, and helping people connect with others. Following are some of the benefits that the crossword puzzles can bring.
- Shortcut to Smartness
Crossword puzzles flex cognition, boast verbal skills and prepare peoples’ brains for challenges they face. They trigger connections between ideas and words, stimulate brain activity and help hone the memory and recall skills.
- Therapy without Cost
The satisfaction that comes after solving a puzzle is not as short-lived as you think. It triggers the production of dopamine – a neurotransmitter which gives feelings of pleasure and uplifts your mood instantly. This intellectually demanding activity can take your mind off everyday worries and help you deal with stress as well. Solve puzzles, solve problems!
- Maintain Social Bonds
When pursued as a group hobby, crossword puzzles help strengthen social ties by creating shared memories and a sense of group accomplishment. It nurtures the ability to collaborate strategically and manage conflicts. If you feel lonely too often, this hobby will turn your spare time into an opportunity to socialize!
Choosing the right kind of hobby can completely transform your outlook on life. Crossword puzzles could be just what the doctor would have ordered for individuals who have free time to fill, who would like to keep their minds and brains sharp and who would like to make and keep healthy social connections. Start your crossword puzzle journey today and see their wholesome impacts unfold.
Amita Vadlamudi is the author of numerous articles on this site as well some of her other web sites. Following are the links to some of Amita Vadlamudi’s other articles dealing with hobbies:
Candles have held a significant place in different countries, cultures and religions throughout history. Candles have come a long way from being produced using dried branches dipped in animal fat to creating slow burning fire. Let’s shed some light on the history of candles.
The basic premise behind candle making has always been the same. The burning wick in the center is surrounded by a material that slows down the burning process. The end result is a source of light and heat.
Historically, the dipping method was the primary method for candle making, dating back to the Middle Ages. Candle wicks were dipped several times in molten animal fat until the fat sticking to the wick would hit a desirable thickness. While these were effective candles, the smell of burning animal fat was a point of concern.
After animal fat candles came the beeswax candles. Made using both dipping and pouring methods, they presented a more efficient option as compared to animal fat. In addition, the constant smell of burning animal fat was replaced with a better aroma.
The pouring method involved molten beeswax being poured onto suspended cotton wicks as they were twisted. As a result, the beeswax accumulated on the wick, reaching the desired thickness. The process was repeated with the pouring from the other end to provide it an even beeswax coating.
While candles are no longer a primary source of light nowadays, the art of candle making is still practiced on a limited scale through the pouring method. The industrial production of candles entails the use of paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct. The wax is more durable and burns with little to no odor.
Many hobbyists practice candle making for decorative purposes or as an art form. They sculpt candles and mold them into beautiful ornaments. A large number of companies also make candles using scented wax, which provide a gentle aroma when burned.
A former Information Technology Professional Amita Vadlamudi currently spends her free time reading and researching and blogging. History is of particular interest to Amita Vadlamudi and she finds candle making history to be a curious subject.
The origins of stamp collection can be traced back to centuries as records show that the first person who actively pursued stamps to add to his collection was an Irish man named John Bourke in 1774! His impressive array of stamps are preserved and displayed in Dublin.
History of Stamp Collection
The very first stamp, called the Penny Black, was issued in May of 1840 and featured an image of Queen Victoria. Once the system was established, such valuable stamps were being acquired by avid collectors. By mid 19th century, thousands of people worldwide adopted stamp collection as a hobby.
The Wall Street Journal carried out extensive research and compiled a report which stated that the total number of stamp collectors globally is approximately 60 million in the 21st century.
Condition of Stamps
Those who are serious about the prospect of collecting stamps should seek the finest specimens. Quality of stamps generally ranges from “poor” to “superb.” A “superb” stamp entails the best centering, vibrant colors and the ideal gum.
A stamp considered “fine” has no discernible flaws, has adequate centering and may contain gum with slight hinge marks. “good” stamps are those which appear off center but are pleasant looking in appearance. They may contain minor defects like thin areas and heavy hinge marks.
Tools to Purchase
Serious collectors use a perforation gauge to distinguish the perforations of their stamps. Another device that can be used to tell subtle differences between stamps is called a watermark detector.
About the Author:
Amita Vadlamudi had worked in the Computer Technology field for over three decades. Following her retirement Amita Vadlamudi has written many online articles and blog posts on varied topics and continues to do so.
There are two major measurement systems in the world that are used to gauge distances, weights and volumes. These are the Imperial (British) system and the Metric system.
The vast majority of countries worldwide employ the metric system of measurement, which is comprised of units like meters, liters, and grams. Magnitudes of 10, 100, 1000 of these units are represented by the addition of appropriate prefixes such as deci, centi, and milli. Ex: centimeter, kilogram.
In the United States, the old imperial system of measurement is employed, which consists of units such as feet, inches and pounds.
The imperial system, which is also called the British imperial since it originated in the British empire that ruled several regions across the globe from the 16th to the 20th century. One of these regions gained independence and later became the United States of America in the 18th century. The government of the nascent country decided to retain the Imperial measurement system, despite the popularity of the metric system in that era.
Following are some of the corresponding values between the Metric and British systems:
- A single mile is approximately 1.6 kilometers
- 1 inch is approximately 25 millimeters or 2.54 centimeters
- One meter is the same as a three foot measurement
- A kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds
- 1 pound is equal to 454 grams
- A 100 pounds is the same as 7.14 stones
There are other differences that arise when considering either of the measurement systems. For example, let us look at the way of observing temperature. Americans measure temperature in Fahrenheit, whereas people of other countries do so in centigrade.
Conversions for temperature include 0 degrees Celsius being equal to 32 degree Fahrenheit, which is essentially the freezing point. 24 degrees Celsius is tantamount to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the weather is likely to be pleasant. The formula for conversion from C to F is, C multiplied by 1.8 and adding 32 to that number.
As it stands, there is no reason to expect the United States to follow suit and change to the metric system. As there are no imminent plans for the change, visitors traveling to USA should familiarize themselves with the British measurement system.
About the Author:
After her retirement from the IT career, Amita Vadlamudi now spends her time writing online articles on science, technology and history. Ms. Vadlamudi’s resume and other articles may be found on her personal web sites listed below:
Amita Vadlamudi an Information Technology professional volunteers at a local public library working as a shelf reader. Amita Vadlamudi finds it interesting to learn how information has been recorded and disseminated throughout human history.
Libraries have existed for thousands of years. In the 1850’s British archaeologists discovered two of the oldest libraries in Northern Iraq, the region that was part of ancient Mesopotamia. It is believed that the libraries belonged to King Sennacherib of Assyria who ruled from 704 to 681 b.c. His grandson Ashurbanipal was credited with assembling the huge collection of records from kingdoms and empires prior to his time.
The collections contained in these libraries were in the form of clay tablets. The ancient people of Mesopotamia recorded information on wet clay that was later baked and dried. The writings on these dried clay tablets remained durable for thousands of years, although modern scholars are unable to translate the meaning of them.
Libraries of clay were also found during excavations in the ancient cities of Syria and Turkey.
Dogs by far make the best pets. They are affectionate and loyal to their owners and bring great companionship and happiness.
There are hundreds of breeds of dogs. Retrievers, poodles, terriers, collies, German shepherds, Dalmatians, and beagles are some of the most popular breeds. Dogs come in many sizes. Smallest is the Chihuahua which weighs around 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds). St. Bernard breed is the heaviest at around 90 kilograms (200 pounds). Dogs vary greatly in appearance. Some barely look like dogs. Some dogs have so much hair that they look like small wooly mammoths. Some have no hair at all. Some have so much skin that they look like they are wearing a thick quilt. Some dogs look mean when in fact they are docile. Other dogs look attractive, when in fact they might be troublesome.
Physical appearance is only one of the characteristics that go into the selection of a dog as a pet. Their temperament and their behavior is what is even more important. One thing for certain is that people love their dogs regardless of the dog’s look.
Dogs are loving, loyal, and comforting. However, they are not always obedient or easy to take care of. They demand much time. They need to be walked in all types of weather. Their food, grooming, kenneling, and medical bills could be costly. Prospective pet owners much do a thorough research on the suitability of the dog before they decide to take on the responsibility. They must clearly weigh the pros and cons of owning a pet and prepare to make a serious commitment. There are many good books available on dogs and pets in the book stores, libraries, and online.Dogs certainly make great reading, and if properly chosen, dogs make great pets.
About the Author: Amita Vadlamudi spent her entire professional career working on the computers and computer related jobs. When she is not working, Amita Vadlamudi likes to unwind with books on other, more lively subjects. Ms. Vadlamudi’s professional resume may be found on the following web sites:
Coin collecting is a hobby enjoyed by many around the world. Indeed it is one of the oldest hobbies even from the ancient times, engaged by royalty and academia. A lot can be learned from coin collecting such as history, culture and politics and can be shared with and passed down the generations.
The technical name for coin collecting is numismatics. It is the collection and study of coins as well as the paper money from around the world for their artistic value rather than their monetary face value.
History of Coin Collecting
There has been a lot of evidence that coin collecting was a prominent hobby in the Roman era. Suetonius’ De vita Ceasarum shares that emperor Augustus was fond of old and foreign coins and would give them as gifts to his friends. It is thought that coins have been collected since as long as they have existed.
Some scholars have contested that it is the Italian Renaissance that gave birth to coin collection, but numerous Greek and Roman accounts argue otherwise.
The hobby of coin collecting surged back into popularity during the Renaissance period. During the 15 and 16th-century, ancient coin collecting became the hobby of the kings. In the 17th century the nature of collecting geared more towards serious research.
It became an academic pursuit and a lot of guidelines were published.
Types of Coin Collectors
Novice: This is someone who collects coins as they come across them. They don’t have a specific theme and rely on friends or family to give them the coins.
Hobbyist: This person collects coins as a hobby. They are in the beginning stages and want to own a small specific collection without having to spend a lot of money. They may be a part of the coin club or be affiliated with a local coin shop where they engage in trading.
Generalist: this person has coins from all around the world. They don’t focus on any particular sort of coin. One of Egyptian kings from early 1900’s, King Farouk was known to be a generalist who collected coins of huge variety and scope.
Specialist: This person is the opposite of the generalist and focuses specifically on one sort of coin collection such as a particular historic period.
Completists: This person collects every type of coin within a certain category. A collector named Louis Eliasberg is known to have collected a complete set of all the known coins the United States.
Coin Collecting as an Investment
There is a good market for coins for people who want to engage in trading coins. The price of the coins is often fluctuating and the right move at the right time can yield good profits. Rare coins can bring in top dollars.
About the Author:
Amita Vadlamudi has written numerous articles on varied subjects. Check out Ms. Vadlamudi’s Wix site for food-related articles. Amita Vadlamudi’s professional profile can be found at her About.me Web site.
Hiking is an outdoor activity which involves walking in natural environments, often on hiking trails. With hiking, you can view great landscapes, get exercise and fresh air, become refreshed, and improve your health. Before you set out on your first hiking expedition, however, it is important to do some research and take steps to insure a safe hiking trip.
Be smart: when you are planning on going on a strenuous hike please make sure to start working out a week or two prior to that. You must build up your stamina gradually and not push yourself more than you can handle.
Let others know: before you are about to leave let your family or friends know where you are going, whether you are going alone or with a group of friends. Tell them that you will contact them when you get back (and do contact them to avoid them sending a search party after you). It is always preferable to go in groups rather than going alone, especially as a beginner.
Know where you are going: as a beginner, it is better not to improvise your hike, better that you know where you are going unless you are with an experienced hiker. Bring a compass along, also pay attention to the landmarks as you pass them by.
Bring a lot of water: All that walking would require you to keep yourself hydrated. If you are going on very long hikes it helps to carry water purifying tablets with you.
Dress for the part: Keep one or two pieces of warm clothing and a raincoat because the weather can be unpredictable sometimes. In cold weather, dress in layers. Buy good quality hiking shoes and socks to prevent blisters.
Keep a first aid kit and some precautionary items: You need a first aid kit to treat injuries and prevent infections. Bring along sunscreen, bug spray, pepper spray, pocket knife, and sunglasses. Although you might not get a good reception on some hiking trails and wilderness, it is still a good idea to bring along a fully charged cell phone and also a portable charger.
Taking a few good precautions will get you a long way in insuring a safe and enjoyable hiking trip.
About the Author: Amita Vadlamudi greatly enjoys the outdoors and particularly hiking on trails with good vistas. Amita Vadlamudi finds hiking to be a great exercise activity and a wonderful health booster.