Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics

Updates–Work Continues

Patricia McGuiggan, Sanchita Balachandran and Matthew Hyleck examining ancient ceramics at the Athenian Agora, Athens, Greece. July 2016.

Since the Spring 2015 course ended, research on the production of Athenian vases continues!

Additional Grant Funding: 

Continued research was made possible through a 2015-2016 Johns Hopkins University Discovery Grant awarded to Balachandran, Hyleck and materials scientist Patricia McGuiggan for their project “Reverse Engineering Ancient Greek Ceramics”. That grant allowed them to undertake an additional twelve test firings in the custom-built kiln at Baltimore Clayworks, and also made it possible to travel to Athens, Greece, to see ancient sites and objects, and meet with researchers in that region.

In 2017, Balachandran was awarded a six-month position at the Getty Conservation Institute to study as a Getty Guest Scholar. The focus of her work was “Revealing the Practices of Ancient Athenian Painters and Potters: Preparatory Drawings and Multiple Firings.”

Recent Publications and Presentations: 

Balachandran, S. “Marked in Clay: Interdisciplinary Methods to Re-imagine Ancient Greek Potters at Work.” The Iris Foundation Awards Lecture, Bard Graduate Center. April 2021.

“Thrown Together: Potters, Painters, and Ceramic Production with Sanchita Balachandran.” Guest on the “Peopling the Past” Podcast. December 2020.

Balachandran, S. “Thinking Work: What Can Ancient Drawings Tell Us About the People Who Made them?” Presentation for the 2020 Thinking Through Drawing Symposium.

Balachandran, S. “Bringing Back the (Ancient) Bodies: The Potters’ Sensory Experiences and the Firing of Red, Black and Purple Greek Vases.” Arts 8, 2 (2019), 70.

Balachandran, S. “Uncovering Ancient Preparatory Drawings on Greek Ceramics.” The Iris. September 24, 2018.

Balachandran, S. and M. Hyleck. “Reverse Engineering Ancient Greek Ceramics: An Interdisciplinary Collaboration.” National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Journal, Vol. 37, 2016: 92.

Some of the over two hundred ceramics test fired in 2015-2016. The small plate featuring a figure on a horse in the center of the lowest tier was provided for test firing by Thetis Authentics, Ltd., located in Athens, Greece.
Talks and Conference Papers:

This research has been presented at the University of Arizona; the Harvard Art Museums; the Toledo Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; the Getty Conservation Institute; the J. Paul Getty Museum; The American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece; the Annual Conference of the American Institute for Conservation; the American Chemical Society; and the National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts, among others.