Home Photo Galleries Biography Links Contact

Pieces Inspired by Ancient and Modern Pottery

Rhodian Amphorae

Rhodes was one of the first islands in the Aegean to cultivate the wine grape. By the 4th century B.C. amphorae from Rhodes had become standardized clay vessels, with a creamy surface, pointed tip, simple rim and acute-angled handles. These became the standard container for shipping wine throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Rhodian Amphorae were also all marked with a pair of stamps which were an endorsement by a licensed manufacturer and the name of an annually appointed official. That provided proof that the amphora came from a Rhodian workshop and its contents from a Rhodian vineyard. Many centuries later the French adopted the practice, which became known as "Appellation Controllée" and has been adopted internationally as a way to verify both the point of origin and quality of products ever since.

319 pieces of maple, with a walnut stand. The vessel size is 11" tall x 6" dia...1/3 the size of the originals.  Finish Danish Oil, waxed and buffed.  Most of my segmented vessels include a feature ring, or contrasting woods for the base or rim. For this one I wanted to stay true to the original inspiration, and not use any decoration at all. In other words, let the shape and color of the vessel speak for itself.

The handles were made using Jerry Bennett's armature technique. The stand ring is segmented, but includes four thin rings, brick laid together for strength. The legs are bent lamination, glued up from four thin layers as well.

January 2011


Skyphos #1

Skyphos #1

Skyphos #1

A Corinthian Skyphos inspired the shape and decoration for all three. (ca. 740 – 730 BC, Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities.)  A skyphos (plural skyphoi) is a two-handled deep wine-cup on a low flanged base or none. The handles are typically horizontal ear-shaped thumb holds that project from the rim (in both Corinthian and Athenian shapes). 

Each of the three is 6" dia x about 5" tall.  Each is finished Danish oil, then waxed and buffed. Skyphos #1 is made the walnut/maple. Skypos #2 is cherry and maple. Skyphos #3 is sapele (a type of mahogany) and maple.

December 2009

Panatenaic Amphorae

An ancient Greek Panatenaic Amphorae inspired this vessel.  Panatenaic Amphorae were large ceramic vessels that contained olive oil and were given as prizes in the Panathenaic Games, held every four years.

14" tall x 10" dia Cherry with maple and walnut feature rings. Finished with Danish oil and then buffed. The central feature ring was inspired by Malcolm Tibbetts piece "For the Boy King”.

This piece won first place in the Bedford Community Arts Council show in 2009.

February 2009



A kylix is a type of ancient Greek wine drinking cup with a broad relatively shallow body raised on a stem from a foot.   The word comes from the Greek kylix "cup," which is cognate with Latin calix, the source of the English word "chalice".

Because the primary use for the kylix was at a symposium - a "drinking party" - in the ancient Greek world, they are often decorated with scenes of a humorous, light-hearted, or sexual nature that would only become visible when the cup was drained.

7" dia x 5" tall.   Maple and walnut.  December 2010


Whisky Jug Cookie Jars

These are a whimsical effort to make something for the kitchen. 

The one on the left, is 10" tall x 6" dia.  The lid and handle are black walnut, with a box elder "cork". The base of the jug is soft maple. Shellac sanding sealer, and a couple coats of satin wipe on poly, then buffed.  Winner of March 2010 MI-OH Woodturners President's Challenge

The one on the right, is a miniature.  2.25 inches tall. Maple with walnut lid and cherry cork.  Shellac sanding sealer then buffed.  The miniature was submitted as part of a collaborative entry by the Segmented Woodturners AAW Chapter for the 2011 Symposium in St. Paul, MN.  The completed entry can be seen HERE.

Both were displayed in the Instant Gallery at the Fall 2010 Segmenting Symposium at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN.

Website content and photos © by Dick Sowa