December 11, 2015
The AIA-Tucson Society hosted a colloquium featuring lectures, demonstrations of wheel-throwing, and displays of Mediterranean ceramics from the collections of the Arizona State Museum and the University of Arizona Museum of Art. The colloquium, entitled “As the Wheel Turns,” had an attendance of 150 people.
“As the Wheel Turns” focused primarily on the forming techniques employed by the ancient Mediterranean potters and emphasized on the Greek potters. The time commitment involved in mastering these techniques makes the potters’ communities prime examples of communities of practice where situated learning is a fundamental mechanism of transmitting knowledge across generations and groups. Ancient philosophers highlighted the mastery at wheel-throwing as the best metaphor for mastering any discipline through a structured and gradual apprenticeship. In doing this, they captured a widespread admiration for the potter’s dedication to mastering the forming techniques. This interdisciplinary colloquium brought together specialists who approach and apply forming and other ceramic manufacturing techniques in a variety of contexts: archaeological, experimental, methodological, philosophical, art-historical, and studio art. By juxtaposing the worlds and expertise of ancient and modern clay practitioners we aim to highlight the continuities and divergences in a craft which is known both for its adherence to tradition and its flair for innovation.
The colloquium, which was free and open to the public, was made possible in part by the Confluence Director’s Fund for Excellence, Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry and the Society Outreach Grant of the Archaeological Institute of America. Additional sponsors at the University of Arizona include The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Student/Faculty Interaction Grants Program , The School of Anthropology, The Laboratory for Traditional Technology, The Department of Classics, The Arizona State Museum, and The University of Arizona Museum of Art. Community support is provided by the Hellenic Cultural Foundation of Tucson, Arizona.