Monday 4 November 2013

ceramics classes

crafty clayclayclayclayweek three glazeclay

I've been dying to have a try at throwing pots on the wheel for the longest time. Ceramics has been high on my crafting wish list for ages, and finally a few months ago I was inspired enough to track down some local classes. I ended up booking a four week course run at the Uni of NSW.

It's been lots of fun. I'm inspired. My efforts are certainly not earth shattering as you can see, but each week I feel some new skills start to take hold and I am dying to bring home some finished fired and glazed pots.

I have been a bit obsessed with this new infatuation, watching youtube videos of people turning pots and filling my Dishes board on pinterest with inspiration (thank you internet!).

Wednesday is my fourth and final class but I will be back to finish and glaze my work for a couple of weeks after that.

In week one we learnt to centre the clay on the wheel and turn a cylinder shape. Those two at the front are mine.

Week two we learned to finish the bottom of the pots and trim the excess clay once they were leather hard. We also learnt to pull our cylinders out into a bowl shape. I had three attempts and while the first was passable, number two was a blowout, as you can see in the photo it collapsed when I took it off the wheel. I'm keeping it to practice on though. Bowl three was a little better.

Week three we learned to turn a bowl foot and I made a couple more bowls, including a slightly bigger one. We also learnt a bit about glazing. Its exciting if a little overwhelming to learn the myriad ways you can decorate and colour ceramics.

I ran out of time at the end of the lesson and had to do my glazing after class knowing my parking was expired! I was determined though to experiment and rushed to colour three pots. I decided to try different styles so I can see which one I like most out of underglaze, glaze and coloured slip. They are rough as you can see, but will give me an idea of how each method looks after firing.

Pot one is painted with 'organic' (!) hand drawn stripes using an underglaze (which looks red here but I'm pretty sure is blue). The pot was then dipped and coated with a clear glaze.

Pot two is dipped in dark blue glaze, which looks brown here. Both these pots are the week one attempts and have been bisque fired already.

But it is pot three that I am excited about. I've painted my leather hard bowl in a green slip and then carved my flower design using a method known as Sgraffito. I'm definitely going to experiment with this style more. I love the idea of drawing my designs directly onto clay.

I can't wait to see how they turn out, stay tuned!

While I've never met a craft I didn't like, I know I'm going to try to do more of this. The whole process appeals to me, I like the meditation of throwing, I like that you learn the process with your hands as much as your head, and the endless variations when it comes to decoration. And of course, as with textiles, I like making objects to use everyday.

Have you tried clay or is it on your wish list too? Its funny, it seems everyone I've talked to about the course has said they want to try it!  I'm really glad I did.


  1. That looks like a heap of fun! I love the last bowl, it reminds me of a lino print. Perhaps matching printed tea towels could be on the cards??

  2. Gosh it looks like SO much fun! I HAVE to do a ceramics course now!!! It all looks just amazing! Love it! :)

  3. Ack! So good!!

    I did it a few times at high school and loved it. Would really like to do it again.

  4. Ooh, that looks like a whole lot of fun!!!

  5. How exciting! I'd love to do something like that!


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