Since developing an interest in making pottery one of David Jones aims has been to make in large wheel-thrown and hand-built forms. He is intrigued by the effort and expertise of early potters in producing large vessels that, in some cases, have lasted many thousands of years. He particularly enjoys the technical challenge of producing large vessels on the potters wheel.
The amphora are not made as items of tableware but should be seen as an objects of voluptuousness and plenty. David aims to produce a flowing curve that springs from the base, broadens out in a generous 'belly' forming a continuous curve through to the neck and rim. While they can be seen as essentially functional each is provided with its own personality and presence through scale, volume and decoration.
An amphora is a type of container of a characteristic shape and size, examples of which it is claimed can be traced back to far as the early Neolithic Period. Amphorae were used in vast numbers for the transport and storage of various products, both liquid and dry, but mostly for wine. They are most often made from ceramic material, but examples in metals and other materials have been found.
An amphora was made to hold under a half-ton, typically less than 100 pounds and generally has two expansive handles joining the shoulder of the body and a long neck. The necks of amphorae are narrow for pouring by a person holding it by the bottom and a handle. Some variants exist and in some cases the handles might not be present. The size may require two or three handlers to lift. For the most part, however, an amphora was tableware, or sat close to the table, was intended to be seen, and was finely decorated by master painters.
Two principal types of amphorae existed: the neck amphora, in which the neck and body meet at a sharp angle; and the one-piece amphora, in which the neck and body form a continuous curve. Neck amphorae were commonly used in the early history of ancient Greece but were gradually replaced by the one-piece type from around the 7th century BCE onwards.
Most were produced with a pointed base to allow upright storage by being partly embedded in sand or soft ground. This also facilitated transport by ship, where the amphorae were tightly packed together, with ropes passed through their handles to prevent breaking or toppling during rough seas. In kitchens and shops amphorae could be stored in racks with round holes in them. The inconvenience of the pointed base was surpassed by its advantage to concentrate solid deposits from the contained liquids (such as olive oil and wines), and those deposits would remain at bottom even during transport.