Sunday, 18 March 2018

Teaching and Creativity with Vases

Fancy doing something creative with vases? Here's a fun, no hassle, idea that will work whether you're doing it yourself for the craic or looking to unleash your pupils' creativity. If you're going to the UK Classical Association Annual Conference this year, pop along to my workshop from 11.30am-1pm on Saturday 7th April when I'll be talking about more creative things you can do with vases and giving you a chance to give them a go....

Decorating Your Own Vases
Decorating paper vases is an excellent way to get creative – maybe creating an ancient scene or even rendering something from the modern world into an ancient style.

A good starting place is making a template. Find a picture of an ancient vase – there are plenty of them on the Panoply website (, or you might have a different favourite in mind. Place the image on top of a sheet of cardboard, then use a pin to prick the vase outline through the paper, marking the cardboard below. This will leave a dot-to-dot to do on the cardboard – join the dots with a pencil, then cut-out the vase shape. (By the way, this is how to do fancy cake tops too – draw the image on tracing paper, then use a pin to transfer the image from the paper to some rolled-out icing). If you're feeling neat, smooth out the cardboard vase's edges by covering it with sellotape or masking tape.

Above, Ready for action... place your paper vase over some cardboard...

One you have a cardboard vase template, you can make infinite card vases to decorate. Orange card is a classic, but feel free to experiment if you prefer. Draw round your template on the coloured card, then cut it out (top tip, if you have a lot to do, cut a few out at a time).

Above, cutting out some beautiful card vases.

Above, next step... use a knife to cut out details such as the handles (pro tip, save your table by investing in a cutting sheet).

Above, Ta daaa, a collection of card vases ready for supercool customisation.

The next stage has many possibilities – just go with what will work best for you or your group.

Above, getting stuck in to vase decorating.

You could copy a particular vase scene onto the vase, with felt-tip pen, crayon, pencil, or paint. You could look at a real vase scene then try and imagine an alternative version. You could pick a scene that would capture your favourite ancient myth or historical event. You could pick a modern story or activity and imagine how that could be captured in a single vase scene (see previous posts on this blog for inspiration on this front, search with the label 'Ancient Vases Modern Artworks')...

Above, This beautiful scene of Heracles from a vase in the National Museum of Poland in Warsaw will be animated and live next year as part of our work on the Our Mythical Childhood Project. Here it is as a crayon marvel.

Get cracking and have fun!

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