Tag Archives: Geometric Greek Pottery

Pony Vase


a dedicated reader will recognize this Greek Geometric style krater from a previous post.  Part of my requirement for school is to create a piece inspired by the art history studied during the semester.  I chose this piece as my inspiration.  The concept for the piece is to take the basic structure and basic design principals and layer in contemporary images.  I was especially interested in bringing in a graffiti image.  Graffiti has so many similarities to hieroglyphic images, being a picture that means a word and that must be decoded by the viewer.


I chose coils to build the piece from as it would allow me maximum control.  It is also a method of building that I love and i chose it for the pleasure of being able to spend a couple days in that process.  I began with a scale drawing.  This outline was an invaluable too as it allowed me to hold the shape as i built up from the bottom.  I took frequent measurements of height and  diameter and compared to the drawing.  If I was off, adjustments could be made.



Once the shape and size were dialed, the form needed fine tuning and handles.  These are in the style of the original pot.



After the pot was bisqued I used iron oxide to paint the structural designs.  I wanted to be as careful as possible with the patterning and lines so extensive grid lines were used


Gabe designed the tag, which says Pony and the balloon pony.  The other image is a reduction of the stucco pony that lives outside the studio.  He also placed the decals which requires tons of math and gridding.  Overall we’re thrilled with how the piece turned out, and so happy to get back to the graffiti pots again.

Here’s a video:

The Geometric Style Pottery of Greece



The reemergence of decorated pottery in the Aegean is a slow refining process of picking up where the Mycenaean  left off after inheriting the great pottery traditions of Crete.  This early Greek style continued to evolve until the mature geometric style emerged. The circles and half circles of the Proto-Geometric style are replaced by increasingly complex designs and feature patterns such as the meander, the key pattern and the swastika.  As with many early pottery traditions, these designs may have been largely influenced by basketry, wickerwork and weaving.  in fact the similarity between the woven patterns of the time and designs on the pots have led some archeologists to theorize that many of the painters of these early greek pots were women as weaving was their exclusive territory.

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Figures emerge on the work around 800 bce and may have been influenced by eastern arts.

Most of the large vessels of the period were used as grave markers and feature funerary scenes.  These are the most ambitious and heavily decorated objects of the period.

While the later periods of greek pottery are far more well know and celebrated, this work is more engaging to my eye.  These pots integrate form and decoration to a greater degree than the later work which can seem an exercise is excess in both pot and decoration which the two rarely meet for the benefit of the entire vessel.

I used  the wonderful The History of Greek Vases by John Boardman for source material in this post.