Dug deep from the native soil, clay was transformed by Cherokee hands into distinctive pots, pipes, bowls and wedding jugs. Today, many of the historical meanings and techniques of traditional Cherokee pottery are still honored and practiced. After pulverizing the dried clay and mixing it with water, the Cherokee craftsmen molded and coiled their earthen vessels. Carved wooden paddles were often used to imprint designs and smooth the surfaces to make them waterproof. They were fired in pits of burning bark and native woods, the color determined by the kind of wood used in the fires. To further waterproof the insides, corncobs and bran were thrown into the fires while the pots hardened.