Rob Sollis Ceramic Studio

Prometheus Ampules: their making and production

A collection of pictures mainly of work in the 'POD' studio. This purpose-built porta-cabin was constructed for me and Woody on the Prometheus film set at Pinewood studios (UK). It was here we worked alongside Ridley Scott's team making the ceramic urns seen in the Cathedral (Temple, Chamber or Pyramid)  on LV223, and also stacked up in the Dereliction Room. Here you can see how the large caskets placed around the monolithic ceremonial head - were formed, stage by stage.  These short videos also show quick action views of throwing and Raku firing the pots on set.

 

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The POD, our cabin.
The POD, our cabin.

Specially built for me and Woody, just next to the walls of the old 007 set at Pinewood UK, where the Prometheus filming took place.

Rob Sollis making clay Ampule
Rob Sollis making clay Ampule

Here I am at the wheel, throwing one of the 80 urns using durable clay. The whole Ampule was thrown in sections to create a whole closed, sealed vessel.

Specially built kiln and drying area.
Specially built kiln and drying area.

This hastily constructed space was needed for the Raku firing in hot ash, of the main Ampules to give them the burnished surfaces.

Ampules in stages of firing on Prometheus set.
Ampules in stages of firing on Prometheus set.

You can see the metal raku kiln-bins where the biscuit-fired Ampules would be heated and cooled

Making lids for Prometheus pots.
Making lids for Prometheus pots.

Here you can see how each vessel was built up in sections from rolling slabs of clay to add height as they were turned on the wheel.

Prometheus ampules.
Prometheus ampules.

The lid galleys were only cut from the top of the whole sealed vessel, at the leather hard stage.

Rob Sollis at work.
Rob Sollis at work.

Focus!

Prometheus pots, rim detail
Prometheus pots, rim detail

The rims of the jars are tracked by hand - not really threaded for a lid to be screwed on, they were just an effect and the heavy lids of the pots just placed back on to fit after being sliced off the whole.

Rolling out the sausages!
Rolling out the sausages!

Me rolling out a new section of clay to add and build up the height of the pot, whilst turning it on the wheel.

Rob Sollis Prometheus Pots POD!
Rob Sollis Prometheus Pots POD!

The production line - a row of clay Ampules ready to have the next section added to build hieght.

Prometheus Ampule lid positioning markers
Prometheus Ampule lid positioning markers

These two drill holes in the clay had to line up on the main vessel and the top lid to ensure they fitted together just right.

Rob Sollis throwing in POD.
Rob Sollis throwing in POD.

Making the large size vessels.

Inscribing the clay sides of the Ampule..
Inscribing the clay sides of the Ampule..

Woody helping transfer the intricate system of glyphs on to the sides of the Ampules. The script was based on ancient Minoan symbols but our signs were coded with their own alphabet.

Prometheus Ampules drying...
Prometheus Ampules drying...

This is where ...

3 stages of making
3 stages of making

The leather hard clay version (far right), with middle: one biscuit fired; far left a complete ampule, glazed and Raku fired ready for dispatch to props.

Rob Sollis with Ampule.
Rob Sollis with Ampule.

Loving my pot!

Row of Ampules at Pinewood.
Row of Ampules at Pinewood.

Just thrown ampules drying outside with their lids set upside down into each empty jar, on set at Pinewood.

Rob Sollis.
Rob Sollis.

I'm obviously thinking about lunch!

Row of Ampules post Raku firing.
Row of Ampules post Raku firing.

Row of ampules/caskets after Raku firing, with the silver nitrate glaze applied, ready for the Props department.

Prometheus the Art of the Film Book
Prometheus the Art of the Film Book

Written by Mark Salisbury with a Foreword by Ridley Scott (Titan Books, 2012), this amazing book was produced with the full co-operation of the filmmakers and showcases breathtaking design, creative production and behind the scenes stories - and is the only official associated publication to this film. It includes more information and context about the Ampules building in the movie.