Sitting a few miles from the German border, Nijmegen is the oldest city in The Netherlands, and after a recent archeological dig, it’s also the site that unearthed a stunningly preserved bowl made of blue glass. The pristine finding, which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old, is from the agricultural Bataven settlement that once populated the region. Featuring diagonal ridges, the translucent vessel was made by pouring molten glass into a mold, sculpting the stripes while the material was liquid, and using metal oxide to produce the vibrant blue. Archeologists uncovered it without a single chip or crack.
Around the time the bowl was procured, Nijmegen was an early Roman military camp and later, the first to be named a municipium, or Roman city. Archeologist Pepjin van de Geer, who led the excavation, told the De Stentor that while it’s possible the vessel was created in a German glass workshop in cities like Cologne or Xanten, it’s also likely that the Batavians traded cattle hides to procure it. In addition to the piece, van de Geer’s team has also uncovered human bones, pitchers, cups, and other precious goods like jewelry, which indicates the site was once a burial ground. (via Hyperallergic)
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Based in southern Michigan where she runs Divine Pine Studios, ceramicist Abby Dawson creates sleek mugs and bowls sprouting with dense pockets of fungi. Adorned with three to four red-capped spores, each whimsical vessel is sculpted on a wheel or by hand, and very few are recreated. The ceramicist sees her fully functional vessels as both an intimate way to connect with others and as a reminder of environmental webs, describing her work as “inspired by repetitive patterns in nature and the commitment to art as a spiritual/therapeutic practice.”
Dawson is releasing a new collection of spore-laced vessels this weekend, and follow future releases on Instagram.
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Stacked Chevron, Multi-Colored Stripes, and Ornamental Motifs Detail Frances Priest’s Meticulous Ceramics
Based in Edinburgh, artist Frances Priest merges stripes, chevron, and asanoha designs into impeccably complex motifs. Generally utilizing bold color palettes, Priest’s hand-built vases and bowls begin with sketches on paper before being transferred to test slabs of clay. The artist says she treats “the surface much like a sheet of paper,” as she inscribes each vessel using scalpels, patterns, and aluminum stamps.
The entirety of the piece is enveloped in the surface design so the works appear to wrapped in, or constructed out of pattern. I think it is a real treat to pick up an object and find that the base has been treated with the same care as the rest of the work, it makes the form complete and also allows for the group works to be re-arranged into different compositions.
Much of her intricate work is derived from The Grammar of Ornament by British architect Owen Jones, which her father gifted her as a child. The classic text focuses on ornamental design spanning multiple regions and periods. “I can distinctly remember spending hours as a child tracing the designs with my fingers, leafing from page to page and absorbing the visual languages on display,” Priest said in a statement. Her most recent vases from her Grammar of Ornament series directly reference the marble and tile mosaics found in the book’s Byzantine section, the artist tells Colossal.
Priest, though, doesn’t limit herself to representing only singular styles or eras. Her ongoing Gathering Places project serves as a collection “extracted from my sketchbook and collaged together into my own new designs—parquet, tiles, parasols, and swags. I use the title gathering places for all the half-sphere vessel forms because they are just that, places to gather together collections of decorative motifs,” she says. For example, “Architekten” is based on stark angles in buildings by the architecture firm Saurebruch Hutton, in addition to the natural foliage she discovered in illustrations of Vienna’s Villa Primavesi.
If you head to Instagram, you’ll find more of Priest’s elaborate ceramics, in addition to a coloring book she created that’s free to download.
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Fusing ancient techniques with contemporary aesthetic, Dual Bowls are one-of-a-kind vessels forged from a mixture of recycled brass, copper, zinc, or nickel in this new project from artist Kawther Al Saffar. The bowls are made in partnership with the Alwafi Foundry in Kuwait, which utilizes a variety of sand-casting methods with sand acquired from the nearby Nile River. Instead of masking or eliminating imperfections left behind from the casting process, Saffar chose to highlight them, giving each bowl a unique design while referencing the inherent complexity of forging a single object from two different materials.
Saffar was born and raised in Kuwait and attended the Rhode Island School of Design where she studied industrial design, and you can see more of her work in her portfolio. Dual Bowls are currently funding on Kickstarter, and it looks like they smashed their funding goal almost immediately.
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Editor's Picks: History
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.