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Attic pottery is the iconic red and black figure-pottery produced in ancient Greece from the 6th to the 4th centuries B.C.
Now, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation's Chemistry and Materials Research in Cultural Heritage Science program, a collaborative group of California scientists from the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), the Aerospace Corporation and the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) at Stanford is investigating the ancient technology used to create these works of art.
What does the investigation of ancient ceramic pots have to do with cutting-edge research into future space travel? Led by Karen Trentelman, a conservation scientist at the GCI, the grant team is working with conservators and curators from the J.
Of importance to aerospace industries, the effort will also create a deeper knowledge of iron-spinel chemistry, which is critical for advanced ceramics found in aerospace applications.
One primary scientific technique the researchers are using is X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, a tool for determining the iron oxidation states in the Attic pottery, which gives the pottery its iconic black and red coloring. The researchers will also use X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) analyses to provide information on the molecular structure of the iron minerals, and high resolution digital microscopy to study the surface of the works, among other analytical methods. Aside from the technical aspects of the work, all of the scientists also are keenly interested in the sociological aspects of the work--that is, what impact did these potters have on their community?
For GCI scientist Marc Walton, who helped Trentelman develop the project, the effort is about understanding the society in which these pots were made. XANES maps generated using SSRL Beam Line 2-3: a) optical image showing black gloss (right) and coral red (left), b) distribution of Fe2+ species (measuring iron present in an oxidation state), and c) distribution of Fe3+ species (measuring specific minerals present).
At SLAC, which houses a high powered X-ray source driven by a particle accelerator called a synchrotron, staff scientist Apurva Mehta is working with the team to reveal nanoscale details across large regions of the pots. Using the information gleaned from the scientific studies of ancient vessels as a guide, the group also plans to reproduce the technology used by early artisans, ultimately firing small replicas. The scientists hope to uncover whether works attributed to different artists used the same methods, or if techniques for creating the work differed amongst workshops producing pots at the same time. The results are expected to impact a diverse range of fields in both art and science, including materials science, chemistry, archaeology, art history and art conservation. Australian researchers have taken X-ray technology to a new level, developing and using high-powered microscopes to see inside objects and capture high-resolution images of their subsurface structures.
For centuriesa€”in fact, since the Bronze Age began some 7,000 years agoa€”the creation of new metallic alloys has mostly been a trial-and-error process. Using the same mathematical framework as the Rochester Cloak, researchers at the University of Rochester have been able to use flat screen displays to extend the range of angles that can be hidden from view.
Researchers from the University of Leeds have taken an important step forward in mimicking nature's prowess at protecting cells from deep-freeze conditions.

Interior Designer and President of the National Council of Interior Design Qualifications is going to introduce Blythe Roberts of The Oaxacan Connection, the distributors of Barro Negro Pottery to the other interior designers in the organization.
Kim Ciesynski of Spaces Design, an interior design company in Sparks Nevada, was introduced to Blythe Roberts, the owner of The Oaxacan Connection, a United States distributor of Barro Negro pottery imported from Mexico. Blythe had originally only intended to show Kim 2 or 3 boxes but ended up bringing every single box out of the truck as Kim was very interested by what she saw.
Kim asked multiple questions about each one regarding the differences in colors, textures, patterns and sheen, and Blythe explained the process as Kim rubbed her hands over each piece of pottery savoring the experience. The clay after it is first taken out of the mine, is a rather dull brown that doesn't look much more interesting than ordinary mud.
Upon hearing this story, Kim's mind was turning over and over thinking of different ways to use this decorative pottery in some interior design applications.
Kim went on the website and looked through hundreds of examples of the pottery in different shapes, sizes and prices. Since Kim is the President of the National Council of Interior Design Qualifications (NCIDQ), she is going to introduce Blythe and her Oaxacan Connection pottery to the other interior designers in the group. The Oaxacan Connection is owned by Blythe and Andy Roberts and is a US distributor of barro negro pottery from the Oaxacan region of Southern Mexico. Reach out to the author: contact and available social following information is listed in the top-right of all news releases. Even though the author(s) of this site receives compensation for insertions or advertisements, all posts or articles are of the author's honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. From their study of the makeup of this iconic pottery, the researchers hope to further current conservation practice and future space travel. More than you'd think--it's hard to imagine a more dissimilar pairing, but the technology is actually quite transferrable.
Paul Getty Museum to attribute characteristic material "signatures" to known artists, which should aid the classification of unsigned works. According to Mehta, the work will push the development of high-powered tools to probe many other materials, from biomaterials to the electrodes of lithium-ion batteries. She is certain that many of them will also find significant uses of this black clay pottery with their customers. She had seen some of the pottery on the Barro Negro Pottery website and was intrigued by the workmanship, design qualities and uniqueness of these products and decided she needed to see them in person.
She met Kim at her office and displayed a couple of the carefully packed pottery out of the shipping boxes. The pottery comes from the only place in the world that can produce the clay necessary to make this pottery: a special mine near a volcano in the Oaxacan region of southern Mexico.

But the pottery making family had discovered that by creating this pottery and firing it into two different types of kilns, or ovens, produced a different color. She discovered that the pottery is not suitable for outdoors and will not hold food or water, but is for decoration purposes only. She was fascinated by the different styles and could envision them in different places in her customers home or office. She is certain that many of them will also find significant uses of this Barro Negro Mexican pottery with their customers. Paul Getty Museum, such pottery required immense precision to produce, and the means by which craftsman created these vessels is still not completely understood.
The information will provide a deeper understanding of ancient pottery techniques and inform future conservation methods.
As soon as she opened the first box, Kim and Blythe instantly hit it off and they became fast friends with a mutual interest in design and fine things.
Blythe described how each pot is envisioned and created by designers who have passed down the skills through the centuries through the Rosa family and is completely handmade without being spun on a wheel. If the pottery is placed in a wood fire it turns black, but if it is placed in a gas fire it turns brown.
She was informed that every single pattern, hole, incision and detail is created by hand and she repeatedly expresses how beautiful they looked. She thought about some of the restaurants that she had done design work for and how beautiful they would appear in such a setting. All pottery can be ordered directly online and shipped via UPS in special shipping boxes and is guaranteed against breakage.
But the most interesting thing is that Dona Rosa, a woman in the 1950s, discovered that by rubbing the pottery with a piece of quartz before firing it resulted in a shiny surface, not just a dull one. She kept asking all kinds of questions about the size and shapes and varieties that they came in. Kim was so excited by what she found that she actually purchased a couple of pots from Blythe right on the spot. It was Dona Rosa that completely changed the industry by discovering what happens when Quartz is used on the pottery. One to give to a friend as a gift, and another to keep in her own office as a reminder of what she had seen.

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