Three years ago, our Director of Residencies and Adult Education, Kyla Strid, was invited to consult on an archaeological dig of a Minoan Pottery Workshop on the Grecian island of Crete. She spent time on the dig site of a recently excavated village where she was allowed to explore and study the pottery.
She was invited to participate on this incredible experience by University of Kansas Professor, John Younger, after he and his partner, Cody, took Kyla’s “First Time Potter’ class here at the Arts Center. John and Cody were already working on the archaeological dig, but the crew lacked knowledge in the pottery process. They originally enrolled in the class to gain more understanding, but quickly realized there was more to making pottery than they could learn in two months. Since Minoan pottery was what inspired Kyla to begin a career as a potter, she expressed an interest to help. That’s when they asked her to join the excavation team.
After three years, Kyla will be returning to flesh out all the details of what they’ve found in this ancient village. For three weeks she will be back in Crete continuing her work on the Minoan archaeological dig site. Kyla and John will be working with one of the local potters on the island where they will be digging local clay, learning more about his production practices, and firing kilns together. By doing this and learning more about the local clay and how it works, they will be able to assemble a rough approximation of what they would have done 3,000 years ago.
Also during her time in Crete, she will spend time investigating everything that has been excavated. Since her last excursion, all finds have been cataloged. Kyla will be able to look at the tools and the artifacts and be able to pull these things from the cataloged library to study. This is the last summer that anyone is allowed to do this kind of research before all of the artifacts are turned over to Greece and the findings are published.
Kyla says, “It’s interesting. Since everything is unpublished, I can’t share any pictures or information! But it’s been great to learn a lot about the Minoan ceramics. A Minoan pot started it all for me. Being able to handle the pots in this landscape is an incredible experience and adds depth and richness to this moment in ceramic history. These were made ages ago, but they are timeless.”
Hoping to incorporate some of the elements she find on this trip into her next body of work, Kyla is anticipating not only a trip of extensive research, but one of inspiration.