Rob Sollis Ceramic Studio
Prometheus Ampules: research, design & development
It was 2011, and Sonia Klaus the set designer from 20th Century Studios had been searching for Raku potters online, as Ridley Scott's Prometheus production team wanted a specialist to craft the film's Steatite Ampules from clay. She found, and phoned me and of course I agreed. So I went to live on-set in a porta-cabin at Pinewood studios for 4 months right next to the Bond '007' stage where this new Alien movie's ship and landing scenes were being built and filmed. My colleague Woody and I worked feverishly to craft the required vessels to furnish the scenes, throwing and decorating in a hastily constructed pottery and kiln firing area, built to my spec.
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The 80 odd Ampules - to be set in the Core Chamber in the Prometheus film - varied from 18", 22.5" to 30.5" tall. All were individually thrown from durable clay that would resist Raku firing temperatures. Many other replicas were made from biscuit foam and plastic.
In the film, these pots (one of which David steals) primarily held the DNA-mutating 'black liquid goo' contained within 4 conical-shaped glass vials attached inside with latex sheaths to secure them.
The pots started to ooze in the Ampule Room and react with indigenous species, creating several mutant creatures who rapidly grew and scarily rejuvenated.
Images: R. Sollis studio and sketchbooks; Lancaster Munitions Factory (Lancaster Museum.)