Between Two Rivers

Material: Felt, year: 2013
Between Two Rivers takes its name from the ancient Greek translation of the term Mesopotamia, the cradle of Western civilization and birthplace of the pottery wheel.
Through ten sculptural felt vessels, Siba makes the connection between this ancient land—located between the rivers—with its pottery innovations and Western ceramics culture that developed through these new technologies.

The wheel, which aided potters in creating circular objects faster and more accurately, was invented in 3500 BC in Ur, an ancient Mesopotamian city-state located in modern Iraq. Around 2200 BC, this invention was introduced in Greece and sparked a new style of Greek ceramics, called Minyan pottery, which Siba has reinterpreted in her felt sculptures. 

A circular, ribbed finish is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Minyan ware, reflecting its production process on a potter’s turntable. Although the turntable no longer plays a significant role today in the production of modern large-scale pottery, the appearance of hand-turned ceramics is often imitated by producing circular shapes with fine ridges.

The objects from the collection, that comprise a series of carafes are made from coiled coloured felt strips coated with a layer of paint on both sides. In this way, each object shows three colours: the original colour of the felt (surface of the ridges), the inside, and outside of the objects.
The dense felt material beautifully translates the heavy appearance of Minyan ware and exaggerates the appearance of the oversized objects.

Limited edition of: 36 of each design + 2 AP + 1 P
photography by Lisa Klappe
This project is supported by the Amsterdamse Fonds voor de Kunst.

The short film (see below) entitled Pallas Athena juxtaposes the setting of a Greek pottery workshop with the modern techniques of felt coiling that are used in Siba Sahabi’s objects.  The short film is dedicated to the wise but short-tempered Greek goddess of inspiration, crafts, art and war. According to myth Pallas Athena taught textile classes to, among others, a talented but troubled student called Arachne who denied that she was taking lessons if ever asked. To punish Arachne for not acknowledging her teacher, Pallas Athena turned her into a spider.

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