Over the last few months there have been some ongoing ‘challenges’ which have allowed participants from all over the globe to contribute their favorite photos of objects, museums, archaeological sites, etc. The first one that I was only (regretfully) marginally aware of was #MuseumsUnlocked on Twitter.
I had seen people posting with the hashtag for weeks and it never even occurred to me that this could be something I could contribute to, because my mind has been stuck in a mindless scrolling loop since self-isolation began in mid-March. One of the days was even dedicated to ceramics! However, a solution finally materialized this week, the answer to all our ceramicist prayers.
Newly minted this week was #PotteryWeek.
Throughout the week, different people across Twitter have contributed images of their favorite pieces of pottery – from archaeological ceramics to homemade pottery and beyond. So many different research and general interests have been highlighted this week, like this before-and-after shot of a vessel that was reconstructed:
Or this black-slipped fragment of Central Gaulish ware:
And several works by a personal favorite of mine, Graham Taylor, who specializes in making replicas of ancient works:
My very first post of the week featured my proudest ceramic accomplishment – the very first pot I ever managed to attach a handle to, and it received a lot of heart-warming feedback.
This was my second time taking an introductory-level pottery-throwing course at a local pottery studio, and I managed to hone my skills a bit more than the first time around (although I had definitely gotten rusty in the year and a half that had elapsed between courses).
I also highlighted other aspects of my journey with studying ceramics, including the pot that got me into grad school (a red-figure amphoriskos depicting the seduction of Helen of Troy by Paris), a ceramic petrology course I took at the Fitch Laboratory of the British School at Athens in May 2019, a mug and bowl set I got on a trip to Thasos from a local potter last summer, and a set of askoi depicting similar painted scenes from an exhibition on imitation in ancient art at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
I hope that this is something that can be normalized (in addition to #MuseumsUnlocked) even once this COVID-19 pandemic has subsided and we can get on with our lives again.
Sure, people would probably just go back to posting their photos whenever they want, but it would be nice to have themed challenges like this (annually? biannually?) to bring out aspects of the ancient/museum/archaeological/pottery world that people would have otherwise overlooked.