Gold logo for Alchemy, Artefacts Reimagined.

Bacchus

A sensory rug inspired by the Roman mosaic at Dorset Museum.

Inspiration behind the artwork

Ann-Marie James’ inspiration for Bacchus came from the Roman mosaic pavement at Dorset Museum. Imagery on the mosaic includes a cantharus (a two handled drinking vessel) which has led some experts to believe the mosaic is linked with Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and revelry.

Laid on the floor of the Victorian Hall at the museum, it became one of the only places in the world where people could walk on Roman mosaics.  

Likewise, the rug is the only artwork in the exhibition that people can touch – in fact, they are encouraged to walk on it, or sit and feel the texture of the design.

Ann-Marie said:

“I was interested to think of these incredible historical mosaics as having once been domestic, and found myself wondering about the nature of the space they had originally been made for. With thoughts of dining halls, social spaces and gatherings, it seemed fitting to name this series after Bacchus.”

Artist's techniques

Ann-Marie began by making a graphite rubbing of a section of the mosaic floor. She took this back to her studio where she photographed it, and then painstakingly traced over it to make a digital version. From this she made an outlined vector file.

With this file, Ann-Marie was able to make machine-cut vinyl stencils, which she used to shave a design based on the Roman mosaic into a cream rug.

Section of Roman mosaic
Roman mosaic which inspired Bacchus.
Artist making a graphite rubbing of the Roman mosaic.
Artist making a graphite rubbing of the Roman mosaic to create Bacchus.
Bacchus, a rug with the pattern of a Roman mosaic shaved out of it.
Bacchus by Ann-Marie James, a rug with the pattern of a Roman mosaic shaved into it.
Bacchus, a sensory experience for visitors to Alchemy.