In ancient Greece, the phrase "to make pottery" meant to work hard. While all Greek pottery was made by similar methods, the pottery techniques of Athens are especially well understood. The typical Athenian pottery workshop was a small establishment consisting of a potter and several assistants. The potter prepared the clay, threw or formed the vases, and oversaw their firing. He may also have decorated the vases himself, or employed vase-painters to decorate his wares.