Vase making and painting

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

This ceramic vase is based on an ancient Greek form, known today as a Stamnos.

This vase is made from four separate pieces: the body and foot; the mouth; the two handles.

Using a yellowish clay, I threw the body/foot on a potter’s wheel, then set this aside to become leather hard. Next I threw the mouth, a short cylinder. When it was leather hard, I attached it to the body with clay slip. I put the vase back on the wheel and refined the form using a wire loop tool. I then burnished the vase with a smooth stone as it rotated on the wheel. The handles were pulled from a lump of clay. When these were leather hard, I attached them to the body with clay slip, then burnished these also.

I drew figures on both sides of the vase with pencil, then redrew the design with a fine clay slip called terra sigillata, which here is brown. After painting the remainder of the vase with this material, I polished with a cloth to give it a metallic shine (click images to enlarge).

I learned how to make vases by reading the book Athenian Vase Construction by Toby Schreiber.

I learned about painting them from the book The Techniques of Painted Attic Pottery by Joseph Veach Noble.

I learned critical information about terra sigillata from Vince Pitelka’s website.