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Ceramics | Textured Clay Vessels with Denise McDonald

Course overview:

Students will be led through the process of making functional vessels using the soft slab technique. Vessels could be mugs, cups, beer steins, or even vases – the scope is open for the student to work on their individual ideas. We will design paper patterns to be templates for our forms and then introduce texture to the clay surface. Students will be encouraged to personalise the clay surface with textures that are meaningful to them such as leaves from their garden, lace, embroidery etc. There will be an exploration of techniques that will range from hand building to combining hand building with the potters wheel. Students will have the opportunity to see their creations through to decoration and firing using oxides, underglazes and glazes to bring out the texture of their surfaces.

image detail textured ceramics by Denise McDonald

What to expect

Students will:

  • be introduced to the possibilities of clay as a pliable material that accepts texture readily.
  • learn about creating a 3 dimensional vessel in clay from a 2 dimensional paper template and make at least one template of their own design.
  • make at least one vessel or multiple vessels from a template/s using traditional soft slab hand building techniques.
  • be shown how to make handles or other embellishments as suitable to their project
  • take the process further if they want to by combining soft slabs with the potters wheel.
  • complete the decoration of their pieces ready for firing so that they will have finished work after completion of the course.

Students will work on a variety of projects and build their skills and confidence from week to week.

Is this course right for me?

This new course is for students with little or no experience working with clay.

What should I wear?

Wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable clothes you are relaxed about getting clay on.
Bring an apron.
We also recommend you trim your nails first (no guarantees that your manicure will last when working with clay!)

What should I bring?

An old hand towel
A notebook to take notes and sketch your ideas
Reference images if you like
Things to make texture in clay – e.g. leaves, lace, doileys, heavily textured fabric/canvas, wooden stamps, rope – only requirement is that it is porous (otherwise it might not release from the clay easily).
Set of basic pottery tools – cutting knife, sponge, cutting wire, turning tool, wooden shaping/modelling tool, needle tool, metal kidney (sets available from Art Est. @ $15)
For template making – strong paper, scissors, pencil, ruler

Students will be provided with a 10kg bag of clay each and basic glazes to use in this course to enable completion of several projects across the term. Extra supplies can be purchased if needed.

Additional clay may be purchased at $5 per 2kg (or $20 a 10kg bag)
Pottery tool sets are also available for purchase at $15.
Additional glazes are available for a small fee.

Will my vessels be fired?

Included in your fee is the firing of four vessels of your choice.
You can have more vessels fired for an additional fee. These will be charged by weight at $5 per kilo per firing (paid at the time of firing). It may take take two firings to complete your work.

Join the waitlist to hear about other ceramics classes commencing soon in our new purpose built ceramics studio

Maximum of 12 students in all our classes. Wheel throwing classes have a maximum of 8 students Our class sizes are small, ensuring you receive the individual tuition you need. For most ceramics classes clay is supplied to complete several projects and this is included in your course fees. Additional clay can be purchased if required.

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This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.