From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up

About the Exhibition


Pottery is one of the oldest forms of art-making with works dating as far back as 28,000 BCE. While pottery exhibitions typically focus on imagery, function and what can be understood about a culture, something deeper is generally overlooked. What about the fundamentals of how these objects were made? Most museum visitors have not experienced what it is like to throw a pot, or make a coil-built vase. Lesser known is when the various processes came into use. By understanding the primary methods of ceramic creation, within their respective historical and cultural contexts, viewers can appreciate ceramics in a new way.

The idea for this exhibition arose out of a simple question. How was it made? To this end, the exhibition introduces the five principle processes for pottery making: hand-formed, mold-formed, slab-built, coil-formed and wheel-thrown. Mostly featuring historical materials, From the Ground Up includes works from the Art Museum’s permanent collection. Additional pieces are presented as interactive elements provided by Richard James, Miami University Assistant Professor of Ceramics. James provided important support with newly made ceramic pieces and assisted with videography of ceramic processes to demonstrate the primary methods of pottery production featured in this exhibition.

The exhibition is curated with the assistance of Curatorial Interns, Jillian Cofskey (Fall 2020) and Mary Visco (Fall 2021). Our interns contributed to the selection of works, conducted research, and the development of context and content in this exhibition.

Open Jan 25-Jun 11, 2022
Tue–Fri 10 AM–5 PM | Sat 12–5 PM | 2nd Wed 10 AM-8 PM


Related Programming

WED | MAR 16 | 5-7 PM (In-person)

From the Ground Up: Insights into Ancient Societies from Material Culture

In parallel with the exhibition From the Ground Up, a panel of speakers present case studies from the ancient world which illustrate how material culture can be used to reconstruct an understanding of society. Speakers include Steven Tuck (History), Jack Green (MUAM), and Darlene Brooks Hedstrom (Brandeis University). Moderated by Matthew Gordon (History). Jointly coordinated by MUAM and the History Department.

Matthew Gordon (Department of History, Miami University). 

Darlene Brooks Hedstrom (Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University; Miami University PhD ‘01): A Fragment of Monastic Life: Recycling and the Long Life of a Storage Vessel in Egyptian Monastic Communities.

Steven Tuck (Department of History, Miami University): A Table Amphora, Roman Names, and Tracing the Rise and Relocation of a Roman Business.

Jack Green (Art Museum, Miami University): Exploring the Production and Context of an Egyptian-Type Vessel from Bronze Age Jordan

The program is made possible by the generous support of the Sweptson Fund (Miami University College of Arts and Sciences), the Middle East, Jewish, and Islamic Studies Minor (MEJIS), and is jointly coordinated by the Art Museum and the Department of History at Miami University.


All Programs are FREE & OPEN TO ALL.