Ara Nigogossian and I worked together for many years producing high quality replicas of ancient Cypriot pottery. I am looking for a permanent home for my collection of around 120 pieces. I envisage a large glass cabinet, which I will pay for, in a corridor of an anthropology department or in the entrance hall of a university archaeology department. If you have any suggestions or know who I might get in touch with please leave me a message on the Information Page. Thank you. Do feel free to skip the following potted history of our time in Cyprus and go straight to the images below.
Triskelion Pottery occupied 20 very interesting years of my life. I was rewarded with a love for the countryside of Cyprus, the people of the tiny village where we lived and worked and for the very dear friends we made there. Studying the pottery of Cyprus was an enormous privilege and a gift of a life time. It gave me a view into the island’s archaeology and history as far back as 7000 years. The position of the island, within sight of the Caucasus mountains over in Turkey, (on a clear day from the top of the Troodos mountains), insured that it had deep connections to every other civilizations of the ancient Eastern Mediterranean. These connections are evident in the artistic and technological development of the wonderful pottery of Cyprus.
In 1985, in London, Ara and I decided to make replicas of ancient Cypriot pottery. He had not a jot of experience making anything like art and had never handled clay let alone made a pot on a wheel. He had a huge challenge in front of him. In fact we both did. We intended to come as close as possible to the originals. I had to learn everything I could about the techniques and materials used in decorating and hand building from the early bronze age up to the iron age. fortunately I had a friend who sponsored us for a readership at the British Museum. Over a period of two years we worked in the basement of the museum weighing, measuring and photographing the most striking of the many hundreds of ancient Cypriot pots in their collection. We set up a tiny pottery studio in our North London home and set to work. After three years we upped sticks and moved to Neo Chorio, our tiny village in the very north west tip of the district of Paphos. The village still had one foot in the distant past. No tractor had yet set a wheel in the fields, only oxen and donkeys were used to pull wooden ploughs. Most of the villagers had a few sheep or goats, and a small patch of land with a few carob and olive trees. It was a total of life change for me.
We put out our shingle and commenced trading in September 1988. We had chickens and rabbits and a big vegetable patch at the back of our pottery, a huge fig tree, lemon and pomegranate trees and a wonderful sprawling grape vine. Tourist and collectors were attracted to our work and happily so were an English and an American archaeologist husband and wife, Laina and Stuart Swiny. They were and still are highly respected in their field. I say happily because they introduced us to the archaeological community, encouraged us and documented our experiments in ancient firing techniques. Stuart supported my particular interest in the ancient technology of firing temperatures, pigments and methods of painting the many of the pottery styles. Stuart loaned me a large study collection of pottery sherds from the Early Bronze age, around 2300 BC, to around 650 BC in the Iron Age. I was invited to give talks and gave a few seminars on ancient pottery technology in universities in the United States.
We were very, very fortunate to become so deeply involved with the elegant and beautiful pottery of ancient Cyprus and to have been witnesses to the old culture of Cyprus before the digital age .