Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Making Samian ware - part 1

Year 5, the class that study Minimus,  have been learning about Roman Art. Both of us who teach them Art and Craft are Classicists, so it's been a particularly interesting topic. We have made 'fresco' panels (more on those in a future post), looked at the Medusa story and tackled pottery.
We decided to try making replica Samian ware bowls like those at Vindolanda, and to take the children through all the steps of the process. We used terracotta clay, the usual school kind.

The children made moulds in disposable plastic bowls, pressing the clay in by hand and making sure it was thick enough to take stamps. The stamps used were a mix of buttons, cufflinks, a Minimus brooch and beads. We used dried alphabet pasta for lettering. The letters in the mould had to be added in reverse, so the writing on the finished bowl would be the right way round.

 Then, when the moulds were dried a little, we took them out of the plastic bowls and let them dry completely before firing. The pasta burned away to nothing in the kiln (our kiln is very well ventilated and in a separate room!) The next step was to roll out a slab of clay about a centimetre thick, drape it over the mould and press it in with wet hands. This was one of the messiest parts of the operation!

 Then we dried the bowls, trimmed the edges and fired them.

Instead of terra sigillata slip, we used clear glaze, as diluted as possible. It isn't perfect, but it does give the right general impression!

The finished bowls were displayed on shelves made from recycled sports photo frames! I glued the perspex into the frame with hot glue and made shelf supports with square section wood strips. The shelves are hot-glued together. I printed labels on buff sugar-paper, to look like vintage museum labels. The children are very proud of their Samian ware!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Minimus and the Hourly Comic Challenge

This year, I had a go at drawing a comic for each hour of Minimus' (waking) day in February 1st, as part of #hourlycomicday . They all appeared on Twitter over three days in our @minimus_latin feed. I have collected them all here: