These are inspired by an ancient Greek pottery form called a rhyton. (Trust me, I had never heard of this word, even as I had seen some of these forms before.) Those dear Greeks had a word for every clay shape: handles up top, handles down below, one handle, narrow neck, bigger belly, etc. (Since these objects truly were vessels of communication, information, celebration, worship, and identity, I suppose that does warrant such nuanced naming.) Just so, look to the names for the color patterns of koi conferred upon these “lowly carp” by aficionados. Staggering, the variations of color, scale size, pattern, and body shape that each have their own name. Or look to any “fancy”...dogs, horses, gemstones, one particular era of craftsmanship in one particular medium. Yikes! There are always those who revere the particular details that make for beauty's difference. And then there are the rest of us who think, “Heck, they’re all just dandy!”
	It’s a nice challenge, throwing these closed forms. So the nose is the top of the form and the rim is the base. Once the clay is opened up and the sides raised, I close in the top, and then cut the form off the wheel. Once dry enough to manipulate, I compress or stretch the clay to suggest the shape of the eyes, fins, and gills. And then it’s on to the trimming, handle, painting, and carving.
     I commissioned my neighbor’s son to weld these stands to display the vessels. Most of them could pass for a respectable drinking vessel...I guess the questionable word there is “respectable.” Consider them more sculpture. An objet d’art. An unnecessary purchase. <grin>

I’ll add further descriptions, but the size and price and a few details appear on the fourth image for each piece. And there are a few examples of canine rhyta (plural!) in the third section of clay works. I’ve also done one Hercules beetle and one crow. Up for trying other animals, as well. Here’s to you! Or, as the Greeks might say, “Stin iyia mas!” (To our health!) Or, “Na pane kato ta farmakia1” (May the poisons go down.) Or even, “Na psofisei o Haros”  (“May Charon drop dead.”)

Drinking  Vessels