Artsy Fartsy Tuesday-Kelly Magleby

Artsy Fartsy Tuesday-Kelly Magleby and replica Anasazi pottery

Today’s Artsy Fartsy artist makes replica Anasazi pottery. Kelly follows the same techniques that the Anasazi’s used to create her wonderful pottery. The look and feel of these pieces is like artifacts I have seen in museums. This bowl below is incredible, and one of my favorites.

Replica Anasazi pottery

Kelly has shared her technique, and some information about herself and her art.
Kelly Magleby-Replica Anasazi pottery   Replica Anasazi pottery

I believe that for a pot to have the same look and feel as an ancient Anasazi pot it has to be made the same way. There are many potters try to copy only the look of Anasazi pottery, but without following the ancient process it just doesn’t have the right feel. For me, it is all about the process and the journey, the whole experience from start to finish. To me this pays respect to the Anasazi and their ancient culture. I focus mainly on the “Anasazi Black on White” style. This style is appealing to me because of how unique and striking the designs are and how challenging the process is from start to finish.  Here is a simplified list of the steps that I follow:


  • Find and collect clay from the earth.
  • Process the clay- I either grind the clay by hand with a grindstone or I used a water purifying technique that involves soaking the clay and cupping the pure clay mixture off the top of the container into another container and then letting the clay dry to the right consistency.
  • Find and collect Temper (grog)- I use sand or grind old pot shards or certain types of rocks for temper. I then knead the temper into the clay body.
  • Building- My pots are all hand buiIt using the “coil and scrape” or slab method. The Anasazi did not use pottery wheels. I use a variety of tools, scrapers and smoothers to help shape the pots.
  • Kelly Magleby
  • Slipping- When the pots are dry enough I paint on several coats of slip. The “slip” is a white clay that is processed the same way as the clay is for the clay body except that it is kept as a liquid paintable consistency. The purpose of the slip is to give a nice light colored background for the paint to contrast with.
  • Burnishing- Burnishing is polishing or smoothening the surface of the pots with a polished stone. This can either smooth the pot or give it a glazed finish, depending on the stage of dryness of the pot.
  • Painting- I paint all my pots with paint that I make myself from the Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. The bee plant is boiled down to a thick tar like consistency. I make brushes out of Yucca leaves for painting.
  • Making Replica Anasazi pottery
  • Firing. All of my pots are fired outside in an Anasazi style trench kiln. From start to finish a firing takes about 4 hours, depending on the number of pots and the type of wood used. Firing is intense and exciting…and is also exhausting!

 Kelly Magleby firing Replica Anasazi pottery

Bio Kelly Magleby

Kelly was born in Sacramento Ca in 1981. She currently lives in Orem Utah with her 2 daughters Madelyn-7 and Josie-3.  She spends her time being a full time mom and also a full time potter! Her hobbies are playing soccer (not watching it!), running, hiking, camping, and spending time with her girls and boyfriend Todd, and learning/teaching primitive skills.

Kelly played soccer through her high school and college years and attended Brigham Young University on a soccer scholarship studying therapeutic recreation. In 2001 she moved to New Mexico to work at Philmont Scout Ranch where she worked as a ranger.  While at Philmont she met many inspiring people and was introduced to the possibility of a lifestyle more in tune with the earth. In 2002 she moved to Arizona and worked for Anasazi Therapeutic Expeditions. Here she had her first experience learning primitive pottery.  Kelly has spent much of her time camping and hiking throughout southern Utah and in the four-corners area of Ut, Co, NM, and AZ. In the desert of the southwest she developed a fascination with the culture of the Anasazi and their pottery.  In 2008 Kelly began making hand-built pots on her own and began taking local primitive pottery courses.  After taking John Olsens class at a BOSS Slickrock gathering she learned more specifically how the Anasazi made their pottery and she was able to continue practicing what she had learned at home. Kelly now teaches classes at primitive skills gatherings and workshops in Utah as well as local private classes.  

Her work can be found online at: 

Replica Anasazi mug       Anasazi cliff dwelling

One Response

  1. mary Hogue December 4, 2012