Did you know that the most common material that remains of Greek history is pottery? Pottery was the chief clue to figuring out ancient time periods and dates. The word ceramic came from the word Keramiekos, a section of Athens where the potters worked. .
Some pottery was considered monumental and was used as a decoration or just to show off. Most pottery was used for storage or food and had images of everyday life on them, though. Greek storage pots had sturdy handles and narrow mouths so they could be sealed easily. The pots used for drinking usually had two handles for a firmer grip and practical design .
There were four major periods of Greek pottery: geometric, orientalizing, black figure, and red figure. The geometric period was from 900 to 750 B.C. This style was very basic. It used lines and basic shapes in repetition. The next period was the orientalizing period. It lasted from 750 to 600 B.C. This style used lots of animals in patterns. They called it the orientalizing period because the animals on the pottery were usually only found in oriental countries. The animals in orientalizing led to human pictures in black figure. Black figure art was where the artist painted the people or figures on in black. Then, when the pottery was heated, the background would be red. The most important black figure artist was Eyekias. At the end of the sixth century was when the red figure style started. Red figure was the opposite of black figure. In red figure, only the background was painted black, so the figures would end up red.
To make a pot the first thing the potter did was wash the clay and slap out the air bubbles. He then had his assistants start spinning the wheel for him. As the wheel spun, he placed a ball of clay on the head of the wheel and shaped it as it spun. The potter then took the pot off of the wheel and let it dry until it was leathery. After that he put it back on the wheel and shaped it with tools.