Published: June 14, 2018 By

The term "leather-hard" refers to a stage in the drying process of pottery production, after the vessel has been thrown on the potter's wheel or made by hand (1). A vessel is said to be leather-hard when it has been allowed to dry to the point that nearly all of the pre-firing shrinkage has occurred and the clay becomes stiff. At this stage, the potter can still decorate the vessel using slip or add appendages like handles, lids, and spouts to the vessel body. This is the last stage before the vessel is fired in a pottery kiln

This essay was written to accompany a collection of Greek artifacts at the CU Art Museum


  1. Toby Schreiber, Athenian Vase Construction: A Potter's Analysis (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999): 26-8.