How Was Pottery Made in Ancient Greece?

Pottery is one of the most significant art forms in Ancient Greece, and it has played a vital role in their culture for thousands of years. The Greeks were known for their exceptional pottery skills, and they produced some of the most beautiful and intricate works of art that have ever been seen. So, how did the Greeks make their famous pottery?

History of Pottery in Ancient Greece

The history of pottery making in Ancient Greece dates back to as early as 3000 BCE. The Minoans on the island of Crete were some of the first people to develop a unique style of pottery called Kamares Ware. This style was characterized by intricate geometric patterns and vivid colors.

Pottery production continued to evolve throughout the centuries, with various regions developing their own styles and techniques. The two most notable styles were Athenian pottery, which was known for its elaborate designs and detailed painting, and Corinthian pottery, which featured simple designs using black-figure painting.

The Pottery Making Process

Making pottery in Ancient Greece was a complex process that involved several steps.

Step 1: Gathering Clay

The first step in making pottery was to gather clay from nearby sources. The clay would then be left outside to dry before being sifted to remove any impurities.

Step 2: Preparation

Once the clay had been sifted, it would be kneaded by hand or foot until it reached the right consistency. This was an essential step as it ensured that the clay was malleable enough to be shaped into various forms.

Step 3: Shaping

The next step was shaping the clay into a vessel using various techniques such as coiling, pinching, or molding on a potter’s wheel. Once the desired shape had been achieved, excess clay would be trimmed off, and the vessel would be left to dry.

Step 4: Firing

After the vessel had dried, it would be placed in a kiln and fired at high temperatures. This process would harden the clay and make it more durable. The temperature of the kiln varied depending on the type of pottery being produced.

Step 5: Decoration

Once the pottery had been fired, it was ready for decoration. Athenian pottery was known for its intricate designs and use of vivid colors, while Corinthian pottery featured simple designs using black-figure painting.


Pottery making was a significant part of Ancient Greek culture and played an essential role in their daily lives. It was not only used for practical purposes such as storing food and water but also served as a medium for artistic expression. The Greeks’ attention to detail and commitment to excellence in pottery making have left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire artists today.