By Amethyst Martinez and Shaun Chornobroff
eaching her History and Principles of Graphic Design class in person for the first time, Professor Jessi Oliano wanted to do something different early in the semester to get her students excited.
So, why not some arts and crafts?
Oliano decided to create a project that allowed students to create their own Phaistos Disk, a relic of the ancient Minoan civilization. The terracotta disk is engraved with 241 symbols and was discovered in Crete early in the 20th century. It is also one of the earliest predecessors for modern technology.
“This is one of the oldest things we’ve found as an artifact from the Minoan society and civilization. The reason we study this is because it possibly could represent our first example of printing,” Oliano said.
For the class, Oliano partnered with Alicia Testa, a freelance 3D printer, to create a replica of the historic Phaistos Disk, a relic of the ancient Minoan Civilization.
Then, Oliano’s class used a mixture of salt, flour and water to make their dough. Students imprinted the 3D replica of the disk on their dough. Oliano said, “It’s a nice, pliable clay that you can air dry, or you can bake it lightly in the oven for… 200 degrees for … two hours.”
This was Oliano’s first class to do this project because of virtual classes last year.
“Up until this point, I’ve only taught the class virtually. So it’s really nice to be back in person with the students, and I’m a really hands-on person. I’m a visual learner myself, and that’s why I came up with the idea to work with a 3D freelance printer and print an example of this disk, and then share it with the class to make our own clay and stamp it out so they can actually see what this could look like,” said Oliano.
Junior graphic design major and student of Oliano, Jailean Ortiz said in an email to the Rider News that she was also excited about a more hands-on learning experience.
“At first, I was nervous to go back in person after having nearly three semesters online. After doing an experiment like this, it makes me excited to be back on campus. I am looking forward to doing more of these hand[s] on projects this semester and in future semesters,” said Ortiz.
“[The students] really liked it. They were like … ‘I’ve never done anything like this before,”’ Oliano said of her students’ responses to the unique project.
Jenna Krauss, sophomore graphic design major and student of Oliano, said in an email to the Rider News that she was also surprised by the outcome.
“It was definitely not what any of us were expecting in class but we all had a lot of fun with it. The final products [seemed] to turn out really well. It took us a while to reach the correct dough consistency but once we did, the disks started coming out great,” said Krauss.
Ortiz said, “We had a lot of fun doing this experiment and we were excited to see the final result. It was cool to make our own disk in order to see & learn what these disk[s] looked like in the past. I was very surprised to see how well my disk turned out for the first time.”