My ongoing obsession with Greek Pottery

This?  This is an exercise in patience for me.  I have an pervasive fascination with historical pottery.  In particular, I absolutely adore the classic Greek vessels primarily used for wine.  As an artist and a potter I am inspired and one might say almost driven to want to ~make that thing~ so I can hold it in my own hands instead of just peering at lovely pieces through the glass of museum cases.

I’ve been working on throwing vessels which are inspired by the shape of classical pieces for a while but until now I’ve only been lightly dipping my toes into the water of surface decoration.    Now I’ve decided to work on an entire new line of pottery inspired by historical pieces.  Have I mentioned how incompetent I feel when confronted with the need to do two dimensional art?  Drawing and painting?  Not my forte.

I know myself well enough to realize that unless I’m put in a position where I ~HAVE~ to learn, I’ll keep avoiding using the skill that I feel I’m not very good at.  So I made a bunch of vessels with the intent of decorating all of them with classic Greek designs.

Vessels waiting for decoration
A few of the new Greek inspired pieces.










I decided to work on a Kylix as the first piece.  My current process is to look for a design online and print it out in the appropriate size then using transfer paper I trace the outlines of the design onto the surface of the vessel which has been previously coated with terra sigillata and bisque fired.

Penciling in the basic outline of the design
I decided to use a traditional design of Dionysos & a Satyr for this Kylix











Then I EVER SO SLOWLY WITH THE TINIEST PAINTBRUSH EVER start to fill in the design with a black glaze.

Slowly adding glaze to fill in the design
Using the smallest paintbrush I could find to fill in the glaze











The design slowly starts to emerge

I have to periodically walk away and take a break.  If I don’t make myself step away every once in a while I find that I’m trying to rush through the work just to get it finished and my painting work becomes more and more sloppy.  Here’s what this piece looks like right at this moment.

The basic work for the Kylix's design is done










Side view of the in progress Kylix










I still need to cover the penciled in Greek key design with glaze and I think I might want to add another band or two of decoration on the foot of the piece.  After that I’ll low fire it to set the glaze and then decide if I want to add anything else to the design before the final high firing.  *whew*  These pieces are a LOT of work.  🙂

I’ve already realized that there is no way I could ever charge appropriately for the amount of time I’m going to put into each piece but that’s okay.  Working on them is a labor of love.  I’ve got 3 Amphorae and 5 Amphorae inspired mugs sitting downstairs still waiting for glaze work.  After this first test run is done I think I might expand into other shapes and maybe even try some Mycenaean inspired pottery.  Somehow I don’t think I’m going to run out of work to be inspired obsessed by any time soon.



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